The Epic versus Apple Battle Ratchets Up in Intensity As Cupertino Terminates Fortnite Maker’s Dev Account

The war being waged by Epic on multiple fronts took a new turn on the Apple side of things when the iPhone maker decided to terminate the Fortnite company’s dev account. This comes on the heels of arguments by Epic that devs are “fleeing” Unreal Engine because of the potential impact of Apple’s actions against the company. All of this stems from Epic’s decision to go up against both Apple and Google for not allowing them to make their own in-app payments system for their popular Fortnite game. Naturally, such a system goes against both Apple and Google’s terms of service that stipulate that transactions need to be conducted through the user’s Google Play or Apple App Store account respectively.

A lawyer from firm Gibson Dunn, Richard Doren, representing Apple, noted that the actions taken by the company were in line with its user agreements and that all parties were aware of what would happen should Epic decide to take the actions it did.

“When Apple is dealing with an entity that is breaching its contracts, its practice is to terminate the accounts of all related parties. The reason Apple does this is so that it doesn’t become a shell game… The concern is that the misconduct will simply be transferred to another Epic entity,” he argued according to The Verge.

Judge Yvonne Gonzalez Rogers did acknowledge the legitimacy of Epic’s claims about harming the Unreal Engine, but also noted the company’s own role in bringing about the entire case. After all, none of these actions were initiated by Apple unilaterally or without cause. Nor were they done by Google in such a manner. Both companies responded to Epic’s going it solo with a ban on Fortnite, but a ban on the Unreal Engine probably won’t stand.

The more recent news of Apple’s decision to ban Epic’s developer account does show an even further escalation in tensions between the two companies. That said, CNBC reports that a dev account associated with Unreal Engine remains active.

Of the move to ban Epic’s dev account, Apple released the following statement:

“We are disappointed that we have had to terminate the Epic Games account on the App Store. We have worked with the team at Epic Games for many years on their launches and releases. The court recommended that Epic comply with the App Store guidelines while their case moves forward, guidelines they’ve followed for the past decade until they created this situation. Epic has refused. Instead they repeatedly submit Fortnite updates designed to violate the guidelines of the App Store. This is not fair to all other developers on the App Store and is putting customers in the middle of their fight. We hope that we can work together again in the future, but unfortunately that is not possible today.”

A spokesperson for Epic told CNBC in response to Apple’s statement, “Apple is asking that Epic revert Fortnite to exclusively use Apple payments. Their proposal is an invitation for Epic to collude with Apple to maintain their monopoly over in-app payments on iOS, suppressing free market competition and inflating prices. As a matter of principle, we won’t participate in this scheme.”

Where do you stand on the Epic versus Apple (and Google) battle? Let us know your thoughts in the comments.

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