July 24, 2024
Epic Games Files for Restraining Order as Apple Moves to Crush Unreal Engine

Epic Games Files for Restraining Order as Apple Moves to Crush Unreal Engine

Posted August 17, 2020 at 10:24pm by iClarified
Epic Games has filed a motion for a temporary restraining order to prevent Apple from terminating its developer accounts and cutting off access to iOS and Mac development tools.

Apple has informed Epic Games that it has until August 28 to remove direct in-app payments from Fortnite. If it doesn't, Apple will block access to all development tools necessary to create software for Apple's platforms, including the Unreal Engine used by third-party developers.


Not content simply to remove Fortnite from the App Store, Apple is attacking Epic’s entire business in unrelated areas. 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. 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.

Last week, Epic Games launched a direct payment feature in Fortnite that saved users 20% but didn't give Apple 30% of its revenue. Apple promptly pulled the app from the App Store; however, the company was expecting this response and was ready with a lawsuit accusing Apple of anti-competitive restraints and monopolistic practices. A similar scenario played out with Google and the Play Store but it's possible to sideload Fortnite on Android so the impact to users isn't as severe.

Apple's latest move appears to support Epic's antitrust case. It's also likely to worsen the company's relationship with the developer community. Unreal Engine is used to power many apps and games. Crushing it would harm numerous other developers that aren't involved in the Epic vs Apple fight.

Apple has also threatened to stop any efforts to optimize Unreal Engine on its hardware and prevent the adoption and support of ARKit and future VR features by Unreal Engine.

From Apple's email to Epic on August 14:

If your membership is terminated, you may no longer submit apps to the App Store, and
your apps still available for distribution will be removed. You will also lose access to the
following programs, technologies, and capabilities:
- All Apple software, SDKs, APIs, and developer tools
- Pre-release versions of iOS, iPad OS, macOS, tvOS, watchOS
- Pre-release versions of beta tools such as Reality Composer, Create ML, Apple
Configurator, etc.
- Notarization service for macOS apps
- App Store Connect platform and support (for example, assistance with account
transition, password reset, app name issues)
- TestFlight
- Access to provisioning portal for certificate generation, and provisioning profile
- Ability to enable Apple services in-app (i.e. Apple Pay, CloudKit, PassKit, Music Kit,
HomeKit, Push Notifications, Siri Shortcuts, Sign in with Apple, kernel extensions,
FairPlay Streaming)
- Access to Apple-issued keys for connecting to services such as MusicKit,
DeviceCheck, APNs, CloudKit, Wallet
- Access to Developer ID signing certificates and Kernel Extension signing certificates
- Developer Technical Support
- Participation in Universal App Quick Start Program, including the right to use the
Developer Transition Kit (which must be returned to Apple)
- Engineering efforts to improve hardware and software performance of Unreal Engine
on Mac and iOS hardware; optimize Unreal Engine on the Mac for creative workflows,
virtual sets and their CI/Build Systems; and adoption and support of ARKit features and
future VR features into Unreal Engine by their XR team

Developer Steve Troughton-Smith writes, "Apple threatening to cut off, stop contributing to & optimizing its hardware for Unreal Engine is 1,000% unnecessary & vindictive, and hurts every dev using Unreal on the platform. If they were trying to make Cook look like a liar to Congress, it would be hard to do a better job"

You can read Epic's full motion for temporary restraining order at the link below.

Do you think Apple is in the right or wrong? Let us know in the comments!

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Epic Games Files for Restraining Order as Apple Moves to Crush Unreal Engine
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Comments (10)
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vipey - August 18, 2020 at 1:07am
My views are slight skewed... this is Apple and these are Apple’s taxes. So Epic asking for tax relief... or tiered tax relief, so the wealthy can get wealthier? IDK, just applying some unreal logic
Great! - August 18, 2020 at 1:33am
Epic wants to have their own store on IOS and Google so that they can charge developers and not pay Apple nor Google anything. That’s what this is all about.
1reader - August 18, 2020 at 1:55pm
Or just lower that 30% to 10% fee
moocow - August 18, 2020 at 12:33am
Great! - August 17, 2020 at 11:51pm
Would you rather pay $60 or more for games on ios? Look at the audience reach made possible by Apple. And Apple makes account management and billing easy, returns, advertising, development tools etc. they also ensure security for end users. Is that unfair? I don’t think so.
PaulieP - August 18, 2020 at 6:44am
Apple isn’t doing anything other companies are doing on a regular basis and if you’re a shareholder, you are happy with Apples business plan. Of course these companies want more money but if they weren’t on the iOS platform at all they would be missing out on all that extra revenue because of the massive amount of users. Showing 30% appreciation for account management and so many other benefits on iOS is worth all that extra revenue. If they think they are so great on their own they should try to market their products only on PlayStation or Xbox and see how their profits change. Im sure they’d be back on iOS in no time.
menist - August 17, 2020 at 10:58pm
Good for Apple, I’m sick of these free to play, but pay to win type of games.
1reader - August 17, 2020 at 10:34pm
Yes, They (apple) are very non discriminatory until money or until you attack their gains, then ...
Mishaiel - August 17, 2020 at 10:41pm
Apple is playing fair here. What epic demands isn’t necessarily wrong but for a company which makes tons of money and the 20% discount through direct payment is still a huge amount for regular gamers like myself since a basic skin would cost 7.99$ which in inr is a whole lot of money for just a skin. With that money i can rather get myself a new game. So I would argue epic to first reduce their pricing schemes before attacking a bigger company like apple as apple has never failed to satisfy customer needs proving their services worth every penny spent.
PaulieP - August 19, 2020 at 5:00pm
Set well stated.
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