Epic’s current situation on the App Store is “entirely of Epic’s own making,” says Apple.
When Epic introduced a direct payment option for in-game purchases in Fortnite on iOS and Android over a week ago, Apple and Google responded by taking the game off their digital stores, claiming that Epic was contravening their guidelines. Epic Games sued both companies shortly afterward, following which Apple stated that all Epic development toolsets – including the Unreal Engine – would be banned from the App Store, which would affect not only Epic Games, but countless other developers that use the engine for development purposes.
Epic Games filed for injunctive relief, and now, Apple have issued their first public response to the entire ordeal, filing legal documents that bring new information to light. Apple states that prior to the introduction of direct payment options in Fortnite, Epic Games CEO Tim Sweeney sent an email (which you can read below) to Apple’s top brass asking for a deal that would make an exception for Epic Games, allowing them to introduce in-app purchases and circumventing the App Store guidelines (that’s notable because in their original legal documents, Epic had claimed that they were not asking for special treatment, but rather for Apple’s policies to be changed across the board for all developers).
When Apple did not acquiesce to Epic’s request, Epic introduced direct payment options for in-app purchases in Fortnite anyway, informing Apple that they would no longer abide by their guidelines- to which Apple responded by taking Fortnite off the App Store. In their legal filing, Apple refute claims that Epic have suffered irreparable harm because of this, stating that the emergency Epic cites while asking for emergency relief is “entirely of Epic’s own making”.
According to Apple, the harm caused to Epic is not irreparable, only monetary, and easily fixable- all that Epic needs to do, as per Apple, is reverse the violations made within Fortnite.
“The harm raised by Epic here is completely avoidable—here and now,” Apple writes. “The asserted harm to Epic customers, whether of Fortnite or Unreal Engine, can be ended by Epic. All of the users and developers that Epic asserts are at risk are disadvantaged only because Epic’s scheme included breaching its agreements and running into court for relief. Epic has put customers and developers in this position, not Apple.
“As Apple has said to Epic and publicly, Epic can be reinstated immediately to the App Store if Epic complies with the rules to which it agreed. Apple has even given Epic notice of its right to cure its breaches. All Epic has to do is remove the “hotfix” that breached its agreements. The only losses that Epic would claim to suffer from reinstatement would be monetary and not irreparable harm.”
Meanwhile, Epic Games CEO Tim Sweeney has responded to Apple’s claims that he asked for a special deal for Epic to work around App Store guidelines, calling Apple’s statement “misleading” and highlighting parts of the aforementioned emails sent out by him to Apple that call for changes to guidelines across the board. You can see his response on Twitter below.
We will keep you updated as this story develops, so stay tuned.
Here is Epic Games CEO Tim Sweeney's June 30 letter to Apple's Tim Cook, Phil Schiller, Craig Federighi, and Matt Fischer (VP of App Store) pic.twitter.com/YtHFMHHQO2
— Joe Rossignol (@rsgnl) August 21, 2020
"We hope that Apple will reflect on its platform restrictions and begin to make historic changes that bring to the world's billion iOS consumers the rights and freedoms enjoyed on the world's leading open computing platforms including Windows and macOS." pic.twitter.com/cRJRO8dQbG
— Tim Sweeney (@TimSweeneyEpic) August 21, 2020