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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Ninja Makes Huge Debut on YouTube

The sudden shutdown of Mixer left many gamers wondering what would happen to some of the platform’s biggest stars, Tyler “Ninja” Blevins among them.

Of course, all of the big names were released from their contracts as we reported but the speculation was more about where these streamers would go. Back to Twitch? As anyone who has followed his career can tell you, that might be an awkward move for him. After all, they parted on somewhat awkward terms.

Then again, the Facebook Gaming alternative wasn’t really viable – for multiple reasons.

Given such a narrow range of options, it only makes sense that Ninja decided to throw his hat in with YouTube. It’s a savvy move for multiple reasons and we’ll tell you why.

For one, YouTube is much, much more than gaming and, with an audience generator like Ninja joining its gaming arm, YouTube looks set to extend its reach even further.

Yet, no need to worry, YouTube hasn’t inked some kind of exclusivity deal with Ninja. He just chose them over the competition. That probably pays more free dividends to YouTube than we can imagine and the service seems to be more than happy to have him on board, even in an unofficial capacity.

Talia Yates, a rep from YouTube, said they welcome him on board.

Even before going live on the service, he had amassed 24 million followers.

Chief executive of the livestreaming services provider StreamElements Doron Nir said to the New York Times, “The power in the livestreaming gaming industry has gradually shifted from the platforms to the creators since they now have more options for where to build their brand.”

“While lucrative exclusivity deals are commonplace we expect to see the rise of transcendent creators. These are individuals who are able to be bigger than any one platform with the freedom to reach a much broader audience by leveraging all of them. Oprah, Ellen and Bill Simmons have all exemplified the benefit of not tethering themselves to a single platform, and Ninja can easily follow suit,” he continued.

Looking ahead, most analysts expect that Ninja and those like him will avoid exclusivity agreements and, instead, will likely use a multiplatform approach. For one, it might not be more lucrative to do that, but it is way more diversified.

And it isn’t just the streaming aspect of everything that makes creators money. As more and more Internet personalities break out into the mainstream, the more they become like other celebrities out there. Endorsements, sponsorships, and other business ventures are part and parcel with streaming success no matter what platform you use as a host. It will be interesting to see how companies like Twitch and YouTube monetize this moving forward.

As for Ninja, in particular, the move to Mixer was a smart career decision for one simple reason: He got to keep most of his contract money without having to fulfill it. Now he’s not only free to do as he pleases but also can weaponize that capital to help advance his other ventures.