Apple has escalated its response to Epic Games’ recent move with Fortnite.
Late last week, Apple pulled Fortnite off the App Store after developer Epic Games violated its rules by allowing players to bypass the store’s built-in payment system. Epic anticipated that move, swiftly filing legal papers against Apple, and mobilised fans to put pressure on the tech giant as part of the #FreeFortnite campaign.
On Monday, Apple informed Epic Games that next Friday, August 28, it will terminate Epic’s developer accounts and completely cut it off from iOS and Mac development tools. This also extends to Epic’s membership in Apple’s Developer Program.
In response, Epic filed for a preliminary injunction against Apple in the hopes it would allow it to keep its developer access while the main antitrust case is resolved. Epic is also asking for the court to prevent Apple from causing any further damage to its business by returning Fortnite to the App Store.
By losing access to these tools and memberships, Epic would essentially be locked out of distributing iOS apps, and notarising Mac OS apps. Indeed, as Epic explains in this week’s legal filings, this also prevents it from being able to continue offering Unreal Engine and its related tools on those platforms.
Having limited or no access to the updated Unreal Engine on Apple’s platforms could negatively impact developers who rely on them to create games, but it’s worth keeping in mind that those same tools would continue to be available on Windows.