Epic Games Sought Side Deal for Fortnite Prior to Lawsuit, Apple Says in Court Filing [Updated]

Earlier this week, Epic Games levied a lawsuit against Apple after Apple pulled popular game Fortnite from the App Store for defying Apple's ‌App Store‌ policies surrounding in-app purchases, launching a legal battle between the two companies.

fortnite apple featured
Apple in turn said that it would terminate Epic's developer accounts on August 28, prompting ‌Epic Games‌ to file a restraining order attempting to stay that removal. Apple today responded to ‌Epic Games‌' lawsuit with its own court filing, arguing that Fortnite should not be allowed to remain on the ‌App Store‌ as the legal fight plays out.

According to Apple, ‌Epic Games‌ in June sought a special deal from Apple's Phil Schiller that would change the way in which Epic offers apps on the ‌App Store‌. From CNBC:

"On June 30, 2020, Epic's CEO Tim Sweeney wrote my colleagues and me an email asking for a 'side letter' from Apple that would create a special deal for only Epic that would fundamentally change the way in which Epic offers apps on Apple's iOS platform," former Apple Senior Vice President Phil Schiller wrote in a declaration.

‌Epic Games‌ CEO Tim Sweeney previously said that Epic was not seeking a special deal from Apple and was instead fighting for "open platforms and policy changes equally benefiting all developers," but it appears that Epic did attempt to establish a unique relationship with Apple prior to when the lawsuit was filed. "When Apple refused to fundamentally alter the way it does business to appease Epic, Epic resorted to sudden, unilateral action that blatantly breached its contracts with Apple," reads Apple's response.

Epic had asked Apple for permission to bypass the in-app purchase system and allow Fortnite players to pay for in-game currency directly, a request that Apple denied and a feature that Epic implemented anyway. According to Schiller, Sweeney emailed him on the morning that Fortnite changed the payment mechanism and said that Epic will no longer "adhere to Apple's payment processing restrictions."

Apple lawyers argue that the emergency stay that Epic is seeking is an emergency "entirely of Epic's own making," as Apple has said that if Epic removes the direct payment mechanism that it added to Fortnite, the game would be allowed to return to the ‌App Store‌ and Fortnite's developer accounts would not be disabled.

Apple has also likened ‌Epic Games‌' behavior to a shoplifter. "If developers can avoid the digital checkout, it is the same as if a customer leaves an Apple retail store without paying for shoplifted product: Apple does not get paid," Apple said.

Apple's promise to terminate all of Epic's developer accounts and access to Apple tools on August 28 would impact the development of the Unreal Engine used in many third-party apps and games. Along with the pending account termination, Epic is not able to update Fortnite, which means that existing iOS users will not be able to take advantage of the next season of the game launching on August 27.

A court hearing is scheduled for Monday to determine whether Apple can remove Fortnite from the ‌App Store‌ for violating the ‌App Store‌ rules.

Update: In a tweet, ‌Epic Games‌ CEO Tim Sweeney called Apple's statement misleading because Epic's email also asked for the concessions to be made available to other developers.

Popular Stories

iPhone 16 Pro Max Generic Feature 2

5 Biggest Changes Rumored for iPhone 16 Pro Max

Tuesday May 21, 2024 7:29 am PDT by
Given Apple's rumored plan to add an all-new high-end tier to its iPhone 17 series in 2025, this could be the year for Apple to bring its boldest "Pro Max" model to the table — the kind of iPhone 16 upgrade that stands tall above its siblings, both figuratively and literally. If you have been holding out for the iPhone 16 Pro Max, here are five of the biggest changes rumored to be coming...
iOS 17

Apple Releases iOS 17.5.1 With Fix for Reappearing Photos Bug

Monday May 20, 2024 10:11 am PDT by
Apple today released iOS 17.5.1 and iPadOS 17.5.1, minor updates to the iOS 17 and iPadOS 17 operating system updates that came out last September. The 17.5.1 updates come a week after the launch of iOS 17.5 and iPadOS 17.5. iOS 17.5.1 and iPadOS 17.5.1 can be downloaded on eligible iPhones and iPads over-the-air by going to Settings > General > Software Update. According to Apple's...
maxresdefault

iPhone SE 4 With Face ID Said to Be Priced Below $500

Monday May 20, 2024 3:43 am PDT by
Apple is targeting a sub-$500 starting price for its upcoming fourth-generation iPhone SE model despite a raft of rumored upgrades coming to the more affordable device. According to leaker Revegnus on X, the U.S. launch price of the fourth-generation iPhone SE will either remain at the same $429 starting price as the current model, or will see an increase of around 10%. Either way, Apple's...
microsoft surface pro qualcomm

Microsoft Says New Surface Pro is Faster Than 15" M3 MacBook Air

Monday May 20, 2024 3:19 pm PDT by
Microsoft is going all in on AI, today introducing a series of Copilot+ PCs that have AI-focused hardware. The new Surface Pro is one of the first Copilot+ PCs, equipped with Qualcomm's Arm-based Snapdragon X Elite processor. Microsoft is already pitting the Surface Pro against Apple's M3 MacBook Air, and in marketing materials, claims that the Surface Pro has superior processing power and...
iPhone 15 Pro Cameras

iPhone 16 Pro Max to Feature New 48MP Wide and Ultra Wide Cameras

Tuesday May 21, 2024 3:36 am PDT by
Apple's iPhone 16 Pro Max will boast a bigger main camera sensor while both iPhone 16 Pro models will feature a 48-megapixel Ultra Wide camera for the first time, claims a rumor coming out of Asia. According to Weibo user OvO Baby Sauce OvO, the main camera of the iPhone 16 Pro Max will be based on an advanced custom 48-megapixel Sony IMX903 sensor. In contrast, the iPhone 16 Pro will use...

Top Rated Comments

GreenPixel Avatar
49 months ago

Hope Epic and other devs will make Apple lift the iron curtain.
There is no iron curtain. The current terms are more than fair.
Score: 64 Votes (Like | Disagree)
GreenPixel Avatar
49 months ago
Anyone who thought Epic cared about "all developers" was deluded. And this proves it.

Edit: Will concede I was too harsh on Epic given the update. I still believe Apple is in the right, however.
Score: 61 Votes (Like | Disagree)
McKodiak Avatar
49 months ago

Hope Epic and other devs will make Apple lift the iron curtain.
I hope not.

Apple can't guarantee me the product ecosystem or experience if they did.
Score: 48 Votes (Like | Disagree)
ArPe Avatar
49 months ago
‘We want to use Xcode, the APIs and the App Store without paying for it. We’re fighting for open platforms so that our masters in China can circumvent the ban on WeChat and TikTok. We don’t care if opening mobile operating systems results in spyware, malware, payment fraud and piracy because that will hurt everyone but Epic.’

Tim Swiney
Score: 40 Votes (Like | Disagree)
McKodiak Avatar
49 months ago
Epic = shoplifter
Score: 33 Votes (Like | Disagree)
armandxp Avatar
49 months ago
If this doesn’t make them lose in court, then our system is biased or rigged.
Score: 24 Votes (Like | Disagree)