The Fortnite developer announced that in the legal battle between Apple and Epic Games that it has filed for a preliminary injunction that would place its game back in the app store and restore its developer account.
In case you missed out how things started, last month’s Epic’s Fortnite Mega Drop on mobile devices included an offer to pay the company directly for in-game currency — bypassing Apple and Google payment systems that demand a profit cut — and offering players a discount for doing it. Apple and Google immediately pulled the game from their officially-supported App Stores, leaving players on iOS with no way to access the game or even remove updates.
Termination of Epic’s developer account also removed its other games from the App Store, including those previously used by Apple to show off its development platforms. The judge has already ruled that, Apple can’t kick Unreal Engine as a whole off of its platform, for now, and now Epic is trying to get back the control it’s lost while its antitrust case against Apple continues.
Epic Games said in a statement, “Today we ask the Court to stop Apple from retaliating against Epic for daring to challenge Apple’s misconduct while our antitrust case proceeds. Apple is a monopolist and standing up to them is a necessary step to free consumers and developers from the unlawful restrictions Apple has imposed over app distribution and in-app payment processing on iOS. For too long, developers have not spoken out because they fear Apple’s retaliation. The company’s recent actions show that if you challenge Apple’s monopoly, Apple will attempt to destroy your business. We are committed to speaking up and securing lower cost, competitive access for all.”
You can read through a FAQ and the 182-page filing here (PDF), which contains emails from CEO Tim Sweeney to Apple, as well as responses from the Apple legal department arguing that their stance protects the consumer.
According to Sweeney in a subsequent email, “If Apple someday chooses to return to its roots building open platforms in which consumers have freedom to install software from sources of their choosing, and developers can reach consumers and do business directly without intermediation, then Epic will once again be an ardent supporter of Apple. Until then, Epic is in a state of substantial disagreement with Apple’s policy and practices, and we will continue to pursue this, as we have done in the past to address other injustices in our industry.”
Many groups are watching from the sidelines, including indie developers relying on Epic’s development tools, services seeking to launch cloud gaming apps that work on iOS and other developers who also want some flexibility in dealing with their revenue from the 30% cut app stores. The only thing that seems certain right now is that this isn’t going away anytime soon a sad state of affairs for the gamers mentioned last in the PDF who posted comments begging to be able to play Fortnite again on iOS.