Epic Games is pursuing a legal route to force Apple to allow its popular Fortnite game back into the App Store, branding the iPhone maker's move as 'retaliation' and insisting that its store model is a monopoly.
Although earlier reports indicated that the next move in the ongoing saga would not be until the end of September, Epic has since filed a preliminary injunction against Apple, attempting to force the company into allowing Fortnite back into the App Store and to restoring Epic's developer accounts.
Apple banned Fortnite from its store last month, after Epic announced a direct payment plan for users, offering players a 20 per cent discount for in-app purchases. The firm said that it was able to offer the cheaper price because it avoided the 30 per cent cut Apple charged to developers.
Apple then threatened to terminate Epic's developer accounts, which would prevent iOS Fortnite users from receiving any updates, and halt development of Epic's widely used Unreal Engine for iOS and Mac. A judge issued a temporary restraining order to stop the move, saying that while Epic had breached its contract with Apple, it didn't violate any agreement related to Unreal Engine and developer tools.
That temporary relief was an aid for both parties. It meant Apple would not be forced to allow a game that breached its rules back into its App Store, but also that it couldn't block Epic's developer accounts - which would have had far-reaching implications for the games industry.
Epic now says that Apple's move has caused material harm to its business, claiming in its filing (pdf) that 'Daily active users on iOS have declined by over 60% since Fortnite's removal from the App Store.'
The developer goes on to say, 'If Apple can cut off Epic's ability to continue updating Unreal Engine for iOS and macOS, both Epic and the millions of developers using Unreal Engine would be harmed. Developers who have invested in creating projects for iOS and macOS would have to change course or simply end their work. Going forward, developers are questioning whether Unreal Engine would remain a viable platform on which to build their applications.'
iOS is Fortnite's biggest platform, with - according to Epic - 116 million registered users, out of the game's total 350 million.
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