Not only does this prohibit updates to Fortnite on iOS, but it could impact every game that uses Epic’s Unreal Engine game creation tools. Epic has filed a motion to stop this retaliation from Apple, which you can read here.
In the legal document, Epic notes the following:
If the Unreal Engine can no longer support Apple platforms, the software developers that use it will be forced to use alternatives. The damage to Epic’s ongoing business and to its reputation and trust with its customers will be unquantifiable and irreparable. Preliminary injunctive relief is necessary to prevent Apple from crushing Epic before this case could ever get to judgment.
That’s why Epic is working fast to get the courts to stop Apple before August 28. Fortnite is a huge money maker for Epic, but so is Unreal Engine. Losing access to a gaming platform as big as iOS could be a huge blow to the company.
Epic is likely to succeed on the merits of its claims, but without an injunction, Epic will be irreparably harmed long before final judgment comes. Technology markets move swiftly. Left unchecked, Apple’s actions will irreparably damage Epic’s reputation among Fortnite users and be catastrophic for the future of the separate Unreal Engine business.
This drama started on August 13, when Epic introduced a direct payment option in the iOS and Android versions of Fortnite. This circumvents the mobile app stores, which take a 30% cut of all transactions. Apple quickly retaliated by removing Fortnite from the iOS app store. Epic responded with a lawsuit and a cartoon designed to get gamers on its side. Android would later do the same, but Epic can offer Fortnite to Android users outside of the main app store. On Apple, it’s their digital marketplace or nothing.
Update at 7:26 p.m.: An Apple spokesperson shared the following statement on Monday evening.
The App Store is designed to be a safe and trusted place for users and a great business opportunity for all developers. 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. 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.