The legal slap-fight between Epic Games and Apple over Fortnite and the App Store has continued, and neither side is mincing words. To recap: Epic Games requested a preliminary injunction that would force Apple to put Fortnite back on the App Store. Now, Apple has filed a 37-page opposition that claims that the ongoing lawsuit is a “marketing campaign designed to reinvigorate interest in Fortnite.”
“Epic started a fire, and poured gasoline on it, and now asks this Court for emergency assistance in putting it out,” the document reads in part. “Even though Epic can do so itself in an instant by simply adhering to the contractual terms that have profitably governed its relationship with Apple for years.”
In the filing, Apple claims that interest in Fortnite dropped by around 70% from October 2019 to July 2020. The company also says that Epic is wreaking havoc on third-party developers who use Epic’s Unreal Engine to build their games, all for the sake of Fortnite. (Apple has revoked Epic’s developer privileges on iOS, which Epic says prevents the company from supporting Unreal Engine on Apple products.)
If you haven’t been following this dispute, it boils down to this: Back in August, Epic introduced direct payments on mobile, meaning that purchases could bypass Apple or Google’s payment processing methods, which violates the terms of the App Store. Since Google and Apple usually take a 30% cut of those sales, they weren’t exactly thrilled with the move, and Apple responded by removing Fortnite from the App Store, hence the present lawsuit.
While it is somewhat rich for Apple to claim that Fortnite–one of the biggest games in the world by any measure–requires “reinvigoration,” it is undoubtedly true that Epic has used the lawsuit as a marketing tool. Most notably, the company produced a parody of Apple’s famous 1984 ad that instructed fans to use the #FreeFortnite hashtag to express their displeasure with Apple’s App Store policies. George Orwell’s famous novel was a parable about the dangers of government control and misinformation; this is a battle between two big companies over how the pie is sliced. Both companies will next appear in court on September 28.
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