The latest salvo by Apple in Epic Games’ lawsuit over the removal of Fortnite from their App Store could end up affecting a ton of developers who rely on the Unreal Engine, as the tech giant prepares to ban Epic’s developer accounts on iOS and Mac at the end of August.
On August 13, Epic dropped lawsuits on both Google and Apple for removing Fortnite from their respective app stores, because of Epic’s decision to give players the option to essentially cut out the middle man and pay for V-Bucks directly through the app, rather than include Apple or Google’s stores.
Removing the game from the App Store only seems to have been phase one of Apple’s battle plan though, as they’ve informed Epic that they’ll be removing the publisher’s developer accounts and make certain development tools unavailable.
On August 17, Epic Games tweeted that they had been informed that “on Friday, August 28 Apple will terminate all our developer accounts and cut Epic off from iOS and Mac development tools. We are asking the court to stop this retaliation.”
Apple removed Fortnite from the App Store and has informed Epic that on Friday, August 28 Apple will terminate all our developer accounts and cut Epic off from iOS and Mac development tools. We are asking the court to stop this retaliation. Details here: https://t.co/3br1EHmyd8
— Epic Games Newsroom (@EpicNewsroom) August 17, 2020
In the court documents linked to by Epic, they argue that “Apple’s actions will irreparably damage Epic’s reputation among Fortnite users and be catastrophic for the future of the separate Unreal Engine business.”
Basically Apple will be shutting off Epic’s developer accounts, and the company claims they cannot support Unreal on iOS without dev tools and access, which makes the future of the game engine on all Apple devices very uncertain.
“Apple specifically stated it would terminate Epic’s access to development tools,” the document states. “Including those necessary for Epic to keep offering the world’s most popular graphics engine, the Unreal Engine.”
If Epic, who owns and operates the Unreal Engine, are unable to provide regular updates for the engine, developers will most likely start looking for another one that’s able to actually be supported on the iOS store, one of the most popular app vendors on the planet.
It remains to be seen if the court will allow Apple to actually ban Epic’s dev accounts and leave Unreal Engine basically dead in the water on iOS, or how this latest twist will affect the overall lawsuit, so stick with Dexerto for all the latest developments on this story as they happen.