Throw another log onto the trashfire that is the Epic vs Apple & Google fight. Epic has filed an injunction against Apple as the latter has allegedly threatened to ban pull Epic‘s non-Fortnite tools from the App Store. Namely, Epic claims Apple will terminate its developer accounts, and cut off access to Mac and iOS development tools. This doesn’t sound like a big deal to you and I, but it’s a symptom of yet more disharmony between the big tech companies.
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
The injunction specifically cites a recent quote from Tim Cook denying that Apple has ever bullied developers who criticized the App Store, and says:
But Apple has done just that… It told Epic that by August 28, Apple will cut off Epic’s access to all development tools necessary to create software for Apple’s platforms—including for the Unreal Engine Epic offers to third-party developers, which Apple has never claimed violated any Apple policy. Not content simply to remove Fortnite from the App Store, Apple is attacking Epic’s entire business in unrelated areas.
The problem is that several games in the App Store are built on the Unreal Engine, so Epic says, and they would no longer have access to Epic‘s developer tools. Epic makes it sound like this would be a disaster, saying “an entire ecosystem based on the Unreal Engine will collapse” and that “will threaten the viability of the engine and disrupt development of a constellation of apps and uses that rely on its graphics to render hundreds of video games, the human brain, Baby Yoda and space flight.”
Little dramatic, yeah? But Epic declared war, and it appears this is Apple cracking its knuckles and saying, “Game on.”
And this is the reason I fear this conflict won’t be soon resolved: because each company can afford to be assholes about it. Epic Games, which was recently valued at around $17 billion, could probably go without any revenue from Fortnite mobile for several weeks and still not have burned through its Fuck You Money. Apple, on the other hand, holds the means of playing the game. It’s a question of who will blink first, if anyone does.
We’ll likely know by August 28. If Epic doesn’t succeed, then it’ll be cut off from its tools on that day.