The dispute between Apple and Fortnite developer Epic Games has taken a new turn. Apple revealed on Aug. 28 that it suspended Epic Games’ developer account.This development comes barely five days after a temporary court injunction stopped Apple from suspending the account. Now users can no longer download Fortnite or any other Epic Games titles from the App Store. While gamers can still play Fortnite, they will no longer receive updates or have access to in-game purchases or the recently launched season.
A Long Fight in the Offing?On Aug. 13, Epic filed lawsuits against Apple and Google in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California, suing them for antitrust and anti-competitive behavior after Apple blocked the multi-billion dollar-grossing game for trying to bypass the App Store payment system. Epic Games founder Tim Sweeney challenged Apple’s 30% cut on every in-game purchase. The company decided to implement an in-game direct purchase option on iOS and Android, which cut out Apple and Google and immediately led to the game being blocked on the App Store and Google Play. Over the course of a decade, it is estimated that the total value of consumer spending generated from the developer’s 159 million downloads on the App Store exceeds $1.2 billion. Of this number, 30%, or roughly $360 million, has been retained by Apple, according to its App Store policy. Clearly, Sweeney and Epic are less than pleased with this, but more importantly it would seem that they also believe that they are in a position to take on Apple. It appears that Epic made a conscious decision to pick this fight with Apple knowing fully well that the tech giant would retaliate. To fight against both Apple and Google, Epic has hired Christine A. Varney, who headed the antitrust division of the Obama-era Justice Department.
Impact on UsersIn a statement released to Bloomberg, Apple was keen to make the point that Epic forced its hand and it would rather not have had to take such action which would invariably end up punishing users:
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.While users will no longer be able to access Epic Games downloads and in-game content from the App Store, Epic’s secondary developer account for Unreal Engine remains unaffected — for the time being.
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