A few days before the end of August, the affair between Fortnite and Apple is gaining momentum.
This weekend, many twists have taken place. It was first Apple who decided to reverse its position once again, explaining refusing to grant any exception to Fortnite and wanting to adhere to the rules of its App Store. The Californian brand took the opportunity to reveal the content of its exchanges with Tim Sweeney, the boss of Epic Games who, contrary to what was initially indicated, did not just want to bypass the Apple commission of 30%. Epic Games, which organized this weekend an anti-Apple tournament in Fortnite, says he is a victim of blackmail.
The Epic Games Store on iOS
On June 30, Tim Sweeney sent a curious email to Apple’s Tim Cook, Phil Schiller, Craig Federighi and Matt Fischer. In this message, he asks Apple to allow in Fortnite alternative payment solutions to in-app purchases from the App Store, without Apple’s 30% commission. In a more daring way, Tim Sweeney questions Apple on the possibility of hosting its Epic Games Store on the App Store and at the same time authorizing its installation from any other source, such as on Android. The man also calls on Apple to allow all developers in the market to be able to do the same and indicates that he does not want to be an exception. He wants a total revision of the rules of the App Store …
Here is Epic Games CEO Tim Sweeney’s June 30 letter to Apple’s Tim Cook, Phil Schiller, Craig Federighi, and Matt Fischer (VP of App Store) pic.twitter.com/YtHFMHHQO2
– Joe Rossignol (@rsgnl) August 21, 2020
A priori candid, the demands of Tim Sweeney are in fact intentionally provocative. The boss of Epic Games says he is giving Apple two weeks to find a solution, as if he was able to dictate anything to the largest company on the planet. After that time, Epic Games says it will conclude that Apple doesn’t want to make a change. Numerous discussions ensued between the legal representatives of the two companies which, on August 13, led to the declaration of war between Epic and Apple. “Epic will no longer adhere to Apple’s payment restrictions” Sweeney explains. He warns in passing that his company is ready in case Apple decides to sanction it.
The Unreal Engine held hostage
The rest is known, Fortnite has been banned from the App Store and is waging a communications battle against Apple. The Californian brand surprised everyone last week by threatening to ban Epic Games from all its development tools if it didn’t get back on track. This includes the Unreal Engine used by thousands of games … which might no longer update properly on iOS. Many developers would then become the collateral victims of a war in which they are not involved.
Today we filed a statement in support of Epic’s request to keep access to the Apple SDK for its Unreal Engine. Ensuring that Epic has access to the latest Apple technology is the right thing for gamer developers & gamers https://t.co/72bLdDkvUx
– Phil Spencer (@ XboxP3) August 23, 2020
Microsoft, which uses the Unreal Engine, took to the defense of Epic Games this weekend. The company explains that an iOS and macOS without Unreal Engine would force developers to ditch those platforms or switch engines, which is not viable for them. Remember that the company has its reasons for resenting Apple, which strongly opposed the arrival of xCloud on iOS a few days ago.
The arrival of Microsoft in the battle once again reveals the intensity of the tensions between Apple and the developers. If the California brand doesn’t calm things down quickly, the situation could quickly get out of hand.