Epic Games says that Apple is now threatening to cut the company off from using iOS and MacOS development tools, according to a new court filing from Epic Games through Twitter.
The Fortnite developer said the move was “retaliation” after an update last Thursday added a cheaper, direct in-app payment system to Fortnite, bypassing Apple’s own in-app payment system and Apple’s 30% fee made from each purchase.
The game was removed from the iOS App Store hours later, and Epic Games filed a lawsuit against Apple claiming “anti-competitive restraints and monopolistic practices” in regards to its app store.
“Less than twelve hours later, Apple notified Epic it was terminating Epic from the Apple Developer Program, blocking all Epic products from distribution through Apple’s App Store,” according to the court document. “Apple specifically stated it would terminate Epic’s access to development tools, including those necessary for Epic to keep offering the world’s most popular graphics engine, the Unreal Engine.”
Epic Games said it would have until Aug. 28 to address any violations to the Apple Developer Program over the update or would be cut off from iOS and Mac development tools. The company is seeking an injunction to stop the termination, which says will hurt developers that use the Unreal Engine:
OS providers like Apple routinely make certain software and developer tools available to software developers, for free or a small fee, to enable the development of software that will run on the OS. Apple intends to deny Epic access to that widely available material. Without that access, Epic cannot develop future versions of the Unreal Engine for use on iOS or macOS. Developers that intend to sell their apps for use on iOS or macOS devices will have to forgo the Unreal Engine in favor of other engines. The effects will reverberate well beyond video games; it will affect developers who use the Unreal Engine on Apple products in many fields. The ensuing impact on the Unreal Engine’s viability, and the trust and confidence developers have in that engine, cannot be repaired with a monetary award. This is quintessential irreparable harm.