Epic says Apple has threatened to cut its access to Developer Program

The publisher claims that it will affect the “ongoing viability of the Unreal Engine”

Epic Games has claimed that Apple has threatened to remove the publisher from its Developer Program, and as a result affect support for the Unreal Engine on Mac and iOS devices, according to a new court filing.

The accusation was revealed in the Fortnite developer’s new court filing, which was made public on August 18. Epic Games says that Apple is set to terminate all of its developer accounts by August 28, and will block the company from accessing any iOS and Mac development tools.

Epic Games also stated that unless the company “capitulates” to Apple’s demands, Apple will block the publisher’s “engineering efforts to improve hardware and software performance of Unreal Engine on Mac and iOS hardware [and] optimise Unreal Engine for the Mac for creative workflows”.

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The developer added that Apple’s actions make it “impossible for Epic to continue developing the engine for use on iOS and macOS devices”. It alleges that the move will “drive developers away from the Unreal Engine and toward its competitors, turning it from a widely used tool to a niche product”.

Epic Games' Fortnite
Fortnite. Credit: Epic Games

Epic Games has since requested an injunction in order to prevent their removal from the Developer Program. “Not content simply to remove Fortnite from the App Store, Apple is attacking Epic’s entire business in unrelated areas”, Epic said in its legal documents.

The publisher also claims that “without an injunction, Epic will be irreparably harmed long before final judgment comes”, adding that “the damage to Epic’s ongoing business and to its reputation and trust with its customers will be unquantifiable and irreparable”.

According to The Verge, Apple has declined to comment directly on Epic Games’ new motion. However, the outlet also noted that an Apple spokesperson pointed to a statement the company released last week, which said that Epic Games “took the unfortunate step of violating the App Store guidelines” and that it would “make every effort to work with Epic to resolve these violations”.

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Last week, Epic Games filed legal action against Apple after the company pulled Fortnite from its App Store. This dispute stems from August 13, when Epic Games introduced “Epic direct payment”, which allows players to purchase Fortnite’s in-game currency directly from the developer, bypassing Apple’s App Store.

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