Skip to main content

Epic and Apple’s dispute gets nasty as Unreal Engine comes under fire

Epic and Apple dispute
(Image credit: Epic Games)

The public squabble between Epic and Apple has taken another turn, as the two multi-million dollar companies continue to fight over who deserves more money.

After unceremoniously pulling Epic Games’ Fortnite from the App Store, Apple is going one step further. The company is planning to terminate all Epic developer accounts and tools on iOS and Mac devices from August 28. 

Epic Games tweeted about Apple’s decision, and said it was filing a motion for a temporary restraining order against the Cupertino-based company to prevent it from doing so. Epic claims it would cause “irreparable harm” to not only Epic itself, but to all the developers making apps using the Unreal engine.

The motion also aims to prevent Apple from delisting Fortnite from the App Store, as the game is currently no longer available to download on iOS devices.

Apple vs Epic

So how did this unpleasant spat begin? Well, ultimately, it all comes down to money. Epic Games implemented a payment option in its popular battle royale game that bypassed the App Store and Google Play stores standard payment methods, which take 30% of any revenue an app makes. Users could pay Epic directly, and were offered a discount for doing so.

Predictably, this did not go down well with Apple or Google, who also removed the game from its store (though you can still download Fortnite on Android through other methods). In response, Epic Games filed lawsuits almost immediately accusing both companies of monopolistic practices. 

Epic Games then tried to rally its Fortnite players against Apple under the banner of #FreeFortnite, and also created an in-game film that mimicked Apple’s original ‘1984’ advert.

Epic problem

In a response to Epic’s motion, Apple has basically said that Epic needs to abide by the App Store guidelines, and that’s all there is to it. You can read the full statement below:

"The App Store is designed to be a safe and trusted place for users and a great business opportunity for all developers," the company said. "Epic has been one of the most successful developers on the App Store, growing into a multibillion dollar business that reaches millions of iOS customers around the world. We very much want to keep the company as part of the Apple Developer Program and their apps on the Store."

Apple went on to add, "The problem Epic has created for itself is one that can easily be remedied if they submit an update of their app that reverts it to comply with the guidelines they agreed to and which apply to all developers. We won't make an exception for Epic because we don't think it's right to put their business interests ahead of the guidelines that protect our customers."

The war between Epic and Apple is likely to wage on for many more months, and involve a lot of legal work, but it’s something that should be left for the two mega-corporations to settle, without consumers being asked to choose a side.