Original story – September 9, 2020: Apple has filed a counterclaim against Fortnite maker Epic Games in the duo’s ongoing legal drama.
In a filing with the US District Court for the Oakland Division of Northern California, the App Store giant dismissed Epic’s case as “nothing more than a fundamental disagreement about money.”
Apple went on to say that the developer of Fortnite and Unreal Engine “doesn’t want to pay anything for the tremendous value” it received from participating in the App Store.
The iPhone maker also claims that Epic CEO Tim Sweeney wrote to Apple executives on June 30, 2020 demanding that his company be exempted from its existing contractual obligations for the App Store. This included the 30% platform fee paid by developers on Apple̵
“Epic fired the first shot in this dispute, and its willful, brazen and illegal behavior cannot go unchecked.”
Apple declined, but claimed that Epic initiated a “sneak assault” on the App Store with a hotfix that allowed it to bypass the platform’s verification process. This is what third-party direct payments implemented in Fortnite in what Apple calls “theft, period”. Of course, this was a breach of contract.
“Epic fired the first shot in this dispute, and its willful, audacious and illegal behavior cannot go unchecked,” Apple said on its file.
“Neither Mr. Sweeney’s self-righteous (and selfish) claims nor the scale of Epic’s business can justify Epic’s willful breach of contract, illicit conduct, or unfair business practices. That court should keep Epic’s contractual promises and compensate and Apple Punitive damages and forbid Epic from engaging in further unfair business practices. “
This follows after Epic Games filed a legal complaint against Apple in August this year after Fortnite was removed from the App Store. The hugely successful Battle Royale title was also booted from Google Play, and Epic has sued Google in court for its alleged anti-competitive practices.
Apple had planned to terminate Epic’s developer accounts and tool access at some point, which could potentially harm Unreal Engine’s developers, but was prevented from doing so in late August.
Epic games like Fortnite and Infinity Blade can no longer be downloaded from the App Store, even if consumers have already purchased them. The company has requested a court order to reintroduce Fortnite on iOS.
Update – September 10, 2020: According to Epic Games, Fortnite users will no longer be able to use Apple’s official login system as of September 11th.
The withdrawal of the “Sign in with Apple” system is another result of the current litigation with Epic. The Fortnite publisher is advising players who have used the system how to keep access to the game after September 11th
Update – September 10, 2020: Epic said in a tweet today that Apple has made an “indefinite renewal” available to Apple account holders that use this method to sign into Epic Games accounts.
However, Epic continues to recommend users to update their accounts according to the guidelines above as it is currently unknown how long the extension will take.
Additional coverage from Matthew Handrahan and Rebekah Valentine