- Apple has accused Epic Games of starting a legal battle between the two technology giants to arouse interest in “Fortnite”.
- In a new document filed Tuesday, Apple said that “Fortnite” was losing popularity prior to the lawsuit.
- Epic Games and Apple got into the battle after Epic broke Apple’s App Store payment rules, for which Apple automatically receives a commission of up to 30%.
- You can find more stories on the Business Insider homepage.
Apple attacked Epic Games on Tuesday in a new lawsuit, claiming that the maker of “Fortnite” filed a lawsuit over in-app payments just to arouse interest in the game.
Before the lawsuit, the interest in “Fortnite”
“For reasons unrelated to Epic’s claims against Apple, Fortnite’s popularity is declining. By July 2020, interest in Fortnite had dropped nearly 70% from October 2019. That lawsuit (and the headlines on the front page) appears to be part of a marketing campaign aimed at reviving interest in Fortnite, “Apple said in the filing.
After the battle between Apple and Epic Games exploded last month, Fortnite launched a campaign against Apple that included a #FreeFortnite hashtag and a tournament where players could win anti-Apple prizes. A video has also been released parodying Apple’s famous “1984” ad.
Apple based its 70% figure on Google Trends data, which shows how many people have searched for “Fortnite” since it launched in 2017.
An April report by Yahoo Finance was also cited on a survey that found other battle royale games were catching up to “Fortnite” in popularity, as well as an August 2019 report from Bloomberg that reported revenue for ” Fortnite “sank.
Apple’s submission is part of a battle with Epic over the question of whether “Fortnite” should be allowed back in the App Store. Apple kicked “Fortnite” from the App Store after Epic intentionally circumvented the App Store’s rules for in-app payments.
To run in the App Store, apps must use Apple’s payment system and hand out a commission of 15% to 30%. Epic replaced Apple’s payment system with its own.
Epic tried to issue an injunction to force Apple to reinstate “Fortnite”. That plea was dismissed on Aug. 25 by the judge, who said Epic had failed to demonstrate that a kick-off from the App Store would cause “irreparable harm”. The judge also said Epic’s decision to breach its contract with Apple was deliberate.
Apple charged Epic on its new file for asking the court for help. “Epic started a fire and poured gasoline on it and is now asking this court for immediate help in extinguishing it, although Epic can do it itself immediately by simply following the terms of the contract that have governed its relationship with Apple for years,” it said.
According to Apple, Epic could easily get back to the App Store if it returned to using Apple’s payment system, even if it continued to fight in court. “Epic itself can avoid any further damage – for itself, ‘Fortnite’ players or third parties – with the push of a button,” it said.
Epic argues that Apple’s payment system is anti-competitive and artificially increases prices in apps.
Epic isn’t the only developer struggling with the rule: other key players, including Spotify, have stated that the practice is anti-competitive and the system is the subject of an antitrust investigation in the European Union.