The Epic vs. Apple continues with Fortnite developers asking for mercy. They want the court to stop the tech giant’s actions before it’s too late.
Lawsuits were going back and forth until Epic’s latest reaction. Right now, it seems Fortnite’s developers are asking for mercy. Not only for them, though. The way Apple retaliated against Epic may affect hundreds of game developers in the world.
And that’s not even the end of their problems. Right in the middle of their struggle against the biggest company in the world, something else comes afloat. A Florida real-estate is suing Epic for the virtual representation of their tourist attraction.
Everything started on August 14, when Apple took out Fortnite from their app store. Let’s get into the origins of the Epic vs. Apple war.
Why did Apple take Fortnite out of iOS systems?
Fortnite’s latest update adds the “Epic Payment Method” for in-game purchases. It overrides both Google Pay and Apple Pay on the mobile version of the game.
As a result, users can buy cheaper V-bucks. However, mobile stores would get nothing in return for supporting the Battle Royale.
Nor Apple, neither Google enjoyed the deal. Both tech giants took Fornite out of their stores and began a legal struggle against Epic.
Simply put, it goes against the regulations of each store. If you’re a developer publishing on Google Play or the App Store, you’d have to give them a 30% fee for your app’s sales.
The real implications
It goes deeper than that on Apple’s side, though. Just like they build exclusive dingies and dongles, you can only download an app for your iOS device through the App Store. That means Fortnite is no longer available for iPhone, iPods, or iPads.
Yet, Android allows app downloads from third-party sources. For example, you can still get Fortnite from the Samsung Galaxy Store or the Epic Games store.
Apple, “exclusive” as it is, denies users the possibility of getting their apps from other sources. It also denies the existence of different stores competing with deals.
Gamers should know the iPhone won’t even take Microsoft’s xCloud game streaming service. That’s another store that wouldn’t give Apple any money.
As of now, you can go to the Epic Game Store, and search for Fortnite. You’d see then options for Android and iOS. The Android link works without a problem, but the iOS link is broken.
In summary, so far
Here’s what has happened between Epic vs. Apple (and Google):
- Epic challenged Apple and Google with a direct payment on mobile Fortnite.
- Apple and Google took out Fortnite from their respective app stores.
- Epic filed a lawsuit plus a PR campaing against Apple. They accused them of “monopolistic practices.”
- They also filled a lawsuit against Google for dishonest competition. Epic says Google puts apps outside of their store on a disadvantage against their offerings.
Keep in mind everything says the same on the Xbox, PlayStation 4, Nintendo Switch, and PC. Nevertheless, the Epic Payment is available on all platforms, and it gives the same 20% discount.
We’ve caught up for the latest part of our story.
Here’s a video showcasing the Epic vs. Apple marketing. The ad mimics Macintosh’s original 1987 campaing showcasing the first-ever personal computer.
This ad is part of the games #FreeFortnite social media hashtag.
On Fortnite’s page, Epic Games also explains iOS users can continue playing the game. Yet, they won’t receive any updates.
Moreover, if you’ve downloaded Fornite before on the App Store, you could do it again.
“Epic believes that you have a right to save money thanks to using more efficient, new purchase options. Apple’s rules add a 30% tax on all of your purchases, and they punish game developers like us who offer direct payment options.” – Epic Games.
Epic vs. Apple evolves into a restraining order
Picking a fight with the school bully as a scary kid is not a good idea. Picking a fight versus massive corporations is also not always the right choice.
Epic decided to file a motion to obtain a temporary restraining order against Apple’s legal actions. The Cupertino brand had informed they would no longer grant iOS and Mac support for Epic’s developers.
The new lawsuits read as follows:
“OS providers like Apple routinely make certain software and developer tools available to software developers, for free or a small fee, to enable the development of software that will run on the OS. Apple intends to deny Epic access to that widely available material.”
Epic violated the Apple Developer Program License Agreement. That’s why Apple decided to terminate Epic’s access to iOS and Mac software development tools as of August 28.
“Apple’s retaliation represents existential threat to Epic’s Unreal Engine.”
The game developers say the retaliation of the tech company is dangerous. The actions Apple is taking go far beyond Fornite. It could harm many developers working with Epic as their publisher, like Remedy Entertainment. More so, it goes against every game using the Unreal Engine.
Epic says they expect to win the case because of the “merits of its claims.” Yet, they need to stop Apple’s extreme measures as it may harm many developers that have nothing to do with the case.
Epic vs. Apple legal war is not going to stop soon
But Epic is not a hero, though. They are stubborn, and they are not planning to back up.
The game developers have also filed a new lawsuit to prevent Apple from taking Fortnite (and its updates) out of the App Store. It’s also stated clearly they want to reach that result without Epic removing their new payment method.
Additionally, the lawsuit prohibits the removal of any other Epic Games property from the App store. The same is to be said about any game using the Unreal Engine.
Epic Games warns “dire consequences” if Apple doesn’t meet their requests.
The company’s previous Epic vs. Apple lawsuit wasn’t asking for any money either. But it was quite different. On August 14, Epic was asking Apple to stop its “monopolistic practices.”
On Google’s side, Epic was requesting the search-engine-creators to stop their anticompetitive practices.
Losing Unreal Engine iOS support
Epic Game’s founder Tim Sweeney created the first generation of the Unreal Engine. As Epic’s property, the Unreal Engine is the most popular open-source real-time 3D creation tool.
Many software and game developers use the Unreal Engine. In particular, the code runs many games. Prime examples are Fifa franchise to the Gears of War franchise, Final Fantasy VIII Remake, or DragonAge: Inquisition.
Unreal Engine losing access to Apple Developer Program
Epic’s visual-motor seems to be the biggest issue at hand. If developers can’t make their Unreal Engine products work on iOS and Mac, they will have to search for other alternatives.
Otherwise, the Apple ecosystem might become even more “exclusive” than it is. Many developers could migrate towards Windows and Android and leave the Cupertino giant behind altogether.
I’m fighting Apple policies while tweeting on iPhone. Don’t hate the players, hate the game. Apple made a storefront where developers have to bid against each other for searches for our own brands, while blocking other stores from competing with them, all “to protect customers”. https://t.co/Tux4D6Z6nl
— Tim Sweeney (@TimSweeneyEpic) August 17, 2020
Apple’s desition could cause “irreparable harm” to many software and game developers. Yet, the tech company could simply readdress their losses with a monetary lawsuit.
Sweeney himself said in the court:
“Developers invest considerable time and resources learning to use and to develop games based on Unreal Engine, often with the expectation that those games will be supported on Apple’s platforms.”
He reminded the mobile gaming segment is more extensive than PC gaming and console gaming. Adding to that statement, I can account mobile gaming makes for about 60% of the video-game 3-billion dollar industry.
Sweeney is currently posting his thoughts on Apple on Twitter. So far, he’s made some valid points. For example, he states how Apple sells top search results on the App Store, even if that means seeing a result that has nothing to do with the keyword you typed.
Let’s try searching for Netflix on the App Store. Whoops, Netflix isn’t the top result, because Apple sold top result to TikTok. At least all the text is super readable – except the low contrast white-on-blue-white “Ad” label. pic.twitter.com/ro5yC4xpvm
— Tim Sweeney (@TimSweeneyEpic) August 17, 2020
Epic Games remains honest to its ideals
Epic Games had a meteoric rise thanks to Fortnite’s success. Their famous Battle Royale gave the company the wallet to stand as a top video-game retailer. Leading stores like Valve, Activision-Blizzard, and EA Origin have seen the newcomer as real competition.
As a follow-up to their philosophy, Fortnite developers opened their Epic Store. The core idea was taking less money from video-game developers while giving them better publishing deals.
Unlike Valve’s Steam storefront, Epic takes a 22% fee from studios for video-game sales. Other stores like Steam, Google Play, or the Apple Store take up 30%.
That makes games cheaper for consumers and delivers a better profit for developers. It’s a win-win situation that made Epic land a bunch of exclusive deals like Borderlands 3 on launch or Rocket League.
Their rise started with Fortnite, and their problems began with Fortnite as well. Who do you think will win on this Goliath vs. Ktulu (but even pricier)?
The App Store doesn’t store Fortnite. Google Play doesn’t play Fortnite. This the broken state of mobile platforms in 2020. pic.twitter.com/ITHIvSE3DM
— Tim Sweeney (@TimSweeneyEpic) August 17, 2020
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Real-world vs. Epic Games
The last part of the story is equally serious but at least funny. Fortnite’s Season 3 features Aquaman’s house. That’s because Fortnite Chapter 2 – Season 3 is based on DC’s character. However, instead of the Atlantis, you would expect, the name of the place is Coral Castle.
Point being, Coral Castle already exists. It’s a tourist attraction in Florida, USA. In particular, a single Latvian immigrant built the place between 1923 and 1951.
The real Coral Castle is even similar to Fortnite’s representation. A lawsuit was only natural, and that’s exactly what’s happening. Fortnite’s new spot shares “common themes with the real Coral Castle.” That includes beach and nautical motifs, castle walls and structures, and stone objects.
“Both evoke the feeling of a centuries-old mysterious place.”
The Coral Castle is stretching on their lawsuit, though. They state Fortnite is leaning heavily on its roadside attraction site for selling Battle Passes and V-Buks. I think Fortnite’s success came way before that!