Epic calls Apple's 'Fortnite' & developer tool block 'overbroad retaliation'

Posted:
in General Discussion edited August 2020
Epic Games has responded to Apple's opposition to its court request preventing the removal of Fortnite from the App Store -- and Microsoft is offering support for Epic's position.




Ahead of Monday's court hearing on Epic's motion for an injunction prohibiting Apple from performing "anti-competitive conduct" by blocking Fortnite and removing Epic's access to Apple's development tools, Epic has filed a response to the court. In the filing, Epic attempts to convince the court Apple's arguments, including declaring Apple's move as unjustifiable due to it potentially impacting Unreal Engine licensees.

The filing fights five points in Apple's opposition, starting with the suggestion from Apple that Epic's requested relief to prevent the revocation of developer tools is "mandatory rather that prohibitory." Epic says this is incorrect, as it is only asking the court "preserve the status quo" so it can maintain the same access to SDKs and APIs as normal.

A second point deals with Apple's argument that its removal of access to tools and developer accounts are authorized by contract, which again Epic says is wrong. Apple apparently "fails to acknowledge the multiple contracts between Apple and Epic affiliates and programmers," while the alleged breach only applies to one agreement for Fortnite, not for tools that apply to Epic's work on the Unreal Engine or apps that use Unreal Engine licenses.

"The breadth of Apple's retaliation is itself an unlawful effort to maintain its monopoly and chill any action by others who might dare oppose Apple," the filing declares.

It is also claimed Apple's argument Epic hasn't provided evidence showing the Unreal Engine business would be "significantly harmed" is wrong, as Epic's motion included multiple declarations on the matter, while other evidence has surfaced since the filing.

Epic also includes in this evidence a declaration from the General Manager of Gaming Developer Experiences at Microsoft about the issue.

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)


On an argument that the "balance of equities tips" in Apple's favor, Epic calls Apple out for not arguing why it is the case in terms of the Unreal Engine tools issue. A similar claim is made against Apple's argument it would "harm the public interest," with Epic again saying the Unreal Engine isn't addressed.

"Epic's requested relief on those issues is very much in the public interest."

Microsoft's statement, by Kevin Gammill, underlines Unreal Engine as being a "critical technology for numerous game creators, including Microsoft," and as one of the most popular third-party game engines around, there's "very few other options available for creators to license with as many features and as much functionality as Unreal Engine across multiple platforms, including iOS."

Microsoft has an "enterprise-wide, multi-year Unreal Engine license agreement," and claims to have put significant resources and engineer time into customizing the game engine for its own products, including those made for iOS devices.

"Denying Epic access to Apple's SDK and other development tools will prevent Epic from supporting Unreal Engine on iOS and macOS, and will place Unreal Engine and those game creators that have built, are building, and may build games on it at a substantial disadvantage," writes Gammill.

The courtroom battle stemmed from Epic's decision to add alternative payment options to Fortnite that bypassed the App Store's payment mechanism. After the app was pulled by Apple, Epic sued, with Apple further threatening to pull access to developer tools used by the company.

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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 81
    sdw2001sdw2001 Posts: 17,540member
    Anything can happen, but I don’t see how Epic has a leg to stand on here.  Apple’s terms are clear.  They deliberately violated them, Apple lowered the boom, and Epic *immediately* sued.   Now you have Apple’s competitors chiming in.  Who knows though.  These things go on for years and rarely have a clear outcome.  
    aderuttertommikeleBeatscornchipjahbladegeorgie01watto_cobra
  • Reply 2 of 81
    Epic signed on to the app store agreeing to all terms and conditions. They were never forced to agree to the terms and conditions or to make products for the iOS platform.

    Now that they have significant success, in no small part due to the eco system Apple has spent in excess of $100 billion developing and supporting, they do not want to abide by what they agreed to. 

    When you go back on your word or try to bully the other side to change the deal, as Epic has clearly done you become an untrustworthy partner with no credibility. I hope they succeed in cutting off their nose to spite their face. If you make a bad deal, you have only yourself to blame. Had they not pulled their move and tried to manipulate Apple, they might have been able to negotiate something better than the deal the originally agreed to.

    Screw Epic. I hope they choke to death on the legal expenses and lawyers. They need to leave the platform and go out on their own, build a new mobile OS, find manufacturers willing to use it, create a new eco system, set up app stores, build a security apparatus and invest a few hundred billion then they can set the terms.
    edited August 2020 aderutterleavingthebiggviclauyycpichaelradarthekatcornchiphlee1169repressthisgeorgie01cat52
  • Reply 3 of 81
    qwerty52qwerty52 Posts: 297member
    After all arrogance,  Epic strategy has changed. It has starting now with playing the role of a victim. Want the augustus 28 is coming closer and closer.
    And then it will be “GAME OVER” for Epic.
    viclauyycbloggerblogpichaelcornchippulseimageswatto_cobra
  • Reply 4 of 81
    I hope Apple loses, as it is stifling competition. Why is it that apps that offer physical goods are treated differently than those that offer virtual goods? Also, how is Apple entitled to 30 percent revenue of billions of dollars of virtual good revenue, when it doesn’t cost nearly that much to run the App Store and offer the services that it does ? Also, why is it that some apps are restricted from being able to even a mention an alternative payment system? Seems draconian. 

    I’m not advocating For an end result that leads to alternative app stores in iOS. But at minimum I think there should be competition in regards to in App payments. Apple shouldn’t be the sole supplier. I’m sure if competition opened up, costs would come down for consumers. 
    edited August 2020 Peza
  • Reply 5 of 81
    Pretty easy solution.  Epic can continue their lawsuit while following the same rules they followed for a decade. What’s a few more years until it gets sorted out in the courts. In fact they can even sue to get back all Apple charges retrospective from this point if they are successful. Which they won’t be. 

    This is tantamount to saying I want to break the rules while we figure this out and throw a childish public tantrum jeopardizing all our customers work.  

    Love Microsoft for helping out Epic. It will be funny when Epic goes after them next wanting the xbox store open and there 30% fee eliminated. 

    If I was considering using Unreal engine for my game, it would be a hard pass after this. Epic seems to be a flake company that only cares about themselves. Who knows what their next crusade will be after this. Way too much volatility for me to base my work on. 
    Beatsbushman4foregoneconclusionpichaelteejay2012hlee1169fastasleepwatto_cobra
  • Reply 6 of 81
    If Apple don’t get the result they want they should just ban all in-app purchases in all games.
    viclauyycpichaelradarthekatpulseimagesRayz2016tobianPezauraharawatto_cobra
  • Reply 7 of 81
    sdw2001sdw2001 Posts: 17,540member
    I hope Apple loses, as it is stifling competition. Why is it that apps that offer physical goods are treated differently than those that offer virtual goods? Also, how is Apple entitled to 30 percent revenue of billions of dollars of virtual good revenue, when it doesn’t cost nearly that much to run the App Store and offer the services that it does ? Also, why is it that some apps are restricted from being able to even a mention an alternative payment system? Seems draconian. 

    I’m not advocating For an end result that leads to alternative app stores in iOS. But at minimum I think there should be competition in regards to in App payments. Apple shouldn’t be the sole supplier. I’m sure if competition opened up, costs would come down for consumers. 
    Apple is entitled to whatever it gets companies to agree to. Do you want access to the worldwide iPhone market? You play by their rules.  They provide the ecosystem and they control what’s on their devices.  Who would you have decide what is reasonable? The government?
    viclauyycBeatspichaelhammeroftruthradarthekatcornchippulseimagesjahbladepscooter63hlee1169
  • Reply 8 of 81
    j2fusionj2fusion Posts: 110member
    I think it is interesting that one could argue Epic is using its monopoly with its Unreal Engine to either get out of paying the 30% commission  or just better rates. From Kevin Gammill: "very few other options available for creators to license with as many features and as much functionality as Unreal Engine across multiple platforms, including iOS."  So if you listen to Microsoft, who has the monopoly here and is abusing it?
    viclauyycBeatspichaelradarthekatPascalxxcornchippulseimageshlee1169tobianurahara
  • Reply 9 of 81
    sflocalsflocal Posts: 5,604member
    I hope Apple loses, as it is stifling competition. Why is it that apps that offer physical goods are treated differently than those that offer virtual goods? Also, how is Apple entitled to 30 percent revenue of billions of dollars of virtual good revenue, when it doesn’t cost nearly that much to run the App Store and offer the services that it does ? Also, why is it that some apps are restricted from being able to even a mention an alternative payment system? Seems draconian. 

    I’m not advocating For an end result that leads to alternative app stores in iOS. But at minimum I think there should be competition in regards to in App payments. Apple shouldn’t be the sole supplier. I’m sure if competition opened up, costs would come down for consumers. 
    Your post just screams of ignorance.  Not even worth the extra time to tell you why.
    edited August 2020 viclauyycBeatstommikelemwhiteroundaboutnowpichaelandrewj5790radarthekatcornchippulseimages
  • Reply 10 of 81
    I hope Apple loses, as it is stifling competition. Why is it that apps that offer physical goods are treated differently than those that offer virtual goods? Also, how is Apple entitled to 30 percent revenue of billions of dollars of virtual good revenue, when it doesn’t cost nearly that much to run the App Store and offer the services that it does ? Also, why is it that some apps are restricted from being able to even a mention an alternative payment system? Seems draconian. 

    I’m not advocating For an end result that leads to alternative app stores in iOS. But at minimum I think there should be competition in regards to in App payments. Apple shouldn’t be the sole supplier. I’m sure if competition opened up, costs would come down for consumers. 
    How is Apple sniffling competition? They aren't. What is Apple selling that Epic sells? How are they taking sales from Epic? All developers that sell on the iOS platform are under the same rules = a level playing field = fair competition between developers. Apple does not compete with developers. Every single developer agreed to the terms and conditions before they ever put their first product up for sale. No one forced them to agree, did they? 

    Can you show me where Epic has committed to lowering their prices by the amount they want Apple to cut their commission by? I don't think you can.

    How much it costs Apple to run the app store or any other part of their business is not your business or mine or anyone else's except those who own and run the company. It's their business, their platform, their  hundreds of billions invested in developing it and supporting it.

    Fair market pricing  is determined by a free market and supply and demand. If Epic or Apple is charging more than the market will bear they will suffer. and have to change to stay in business. Neither of them is suffering. Make no mistake about it, Epic in no way is looking to give you or any other gamer a piece of their pie. They are arguing with Apple over how much of the pie Apple gets for providing the platform, store and eco system that allows Epic to exist on iOS. How are you going to benefit from the result of that argument?

    How do you feel about living up to your legal and contractural agreements? If you make an agreement that doesn't work out for you, whose fault is that? Apple should take less because Epic regrets making  the deal they did?

    Here's some facts for you - In 2019, Epic Games reported $4.2 billion in revenue and $730 million in earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation, and amortization (EBITDA, a key measure of profitability). Revenue for 2020 is forecast to be $5 billion, with EBITDA of $1 billion. I guess Epic is in dire straights and struggling to survive and make money. I also guess they are "victims" of big bad Apple. Come on, give me a break.

    Epic has no intention of passing on any gains to consumers. It will go right in the pockets of the company and owners. Competition between developers would benefit consumers. There is no competition between Epic and Apple. Neither sells the same product. You want to sell in my store? Good, then you will give me the cut I tell you I have to have or you won't sell in my store or on my closed platform you knew from day one was closed.

    I am sick of what amounts to whining about Apple especially when it is based on erroneous information or claims that are not true. This has not a thing to do with competition. Apple has not done one thing to stifle competition between gaming developers. They are free to raise or lower their prices as they wish. The reality is the level playing field Apple has created has kept prices down for consumers and spurred development and competition. 


    edited August 2020 leavingthebiggviclauyycBeatsroundaboutnowandrewj5790teejay2012hammeroftruthradarthekatDaRevhlee1169
  • Reply 11 of 81
    sdw2001 said:
    Anything can happen, but I don’t see how Epic has a leg to stand on here.  Apple’s terms are clear.  They deliberately violated them, Apple lowered the boom, and Epic *immediately* sued.   Now you have Apple’s competitors chiming in.  Who knows though.  These things go on for years and rarely have a clear outcome.  
    Microsoft has officially opened the door into its business contracts with Epic Games. Is Microsoft’s participation with Epic Games predicated on Epic Games not pursuing litigation against Microsoft’s closed Xbox game store? Also, how many iOS video games based on Unreal Engine does Microsoft have on the App Store?
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 12 of 81
    danvmdanvm Posts: 1,144member
    altivec88 said:
    Pretty easy solution.  Epic can continue their lawsuit while following the same rules they followed for a decade. What’s a few more years until it gets sorted out in the courts. In fact they can even sue to get back all Apple charges retrospective from this point if they are successful. Which they won’t be. 

    This is tantamount to saying I want to break the rules while we figure this out and throw a childish public tantrum jeopardizing all our customers work.  

    Love Microsoft for helping out Epic. It will be funny when Epic goes after them next wanting the xbox store open and there 30% fee eliminated. 

    If I was considering using Unreal engine for my game, it would be a hard pass after this. Epic seems to be a flake company that only cares about themselves. Who knows what their next crusade will be after this. Way too much volatility for me to base my work on. 
    I don’t think MS would have problems with an alternate store, considering they already have one with EA Play. 

    Also you are not forced to pay the 30% of the App Store for your games, as happens with iOS / iPadOS devices, since you can sell your boxed games in major retailers. 
    edited August 2020
  • Reply 13 of 81
    Epic, you knew the rules and consequences before you started engaging with the App Store. If you didn’t agree with them then, you should have gone elsewhere or built your own. August 28 is just a few days away. Tick tock. 
    edited August 2020 Beatscornchipwatto_cobra
  • Reply 14 of 81
    B-Mc-CB-Mc-C Posts: 24member
    The hearing has disappeared from Judge Chen’s calendar tomorrow. Trying to figure out why.
    cornchipwatto_cobra
  • Reply 15 of 81
    qwerty52qwerty52 Posts: 297member
    I hope Apple loses, as it is stifling competition. Why is it that apps that offer physical goods are treated differently than those that offer virtual goods? Also, how is Apple entitled to 30 percent revenue of billions of dollars of virtual good revenue, when it doesn’t cost nearly that much to run the App Store and offer the services that it does ? Also, why is it that some apps are restricted from being able to even a mention an alternative payment system? Seems draconian. 

    I’m not advocating For an end result that leads to alternative app stores in iOS. But at minimum I think there should be competition in regards to in App payments. Apple shouldn’t be the sole supplier. I’m sure if competition opened up, costs would come down for consumers. 
    Why are you thinking that Apple is stifling competition? Everybody is free to create an own phone, an own platform and
    an own application store. I don’t see any problem. What are you talking about? 
    Beatsradarthekattommikelepscooter63hlee1169uraharaaderuttercat52watto_cobra
  • Reply 16 of 81
    chadbagchadbag Posts: 1,351member
    Sounds like it is time for Unreal Engine to be spun off into a separate entity with a disconnected ownership seeing as it is so important...
    andrewj5790Pascalxxcornchipuraharacat52watto_cobra
  • Reply 17 of 81
    Is the Unreal Engine free to use?
    Beatscornchipuraharasdw2001cat52watto_cobra
  • Reply 18 of 81
    BeatsBeats Posts: 2,286member
    "Overbroad retaliation" kinda like Epic did when it allowed players to skip Apple's payment because they didn't get their way.


    I hope Apple loses, as it is stifling competition.


    HOW?

    I can create anything and Apple will not stop me. Apple also allows me to sell on their stores.

    Really HOW?

    "Also, how is Apple entitled to 30 percent revenue of billions of dollars of virtual good revenue, when it doesn’t cost nearly that much to run the App Store and offer the services that it does "

    Inventing iPhone, App Store, iPad, developing security, privacy, R&D, developer tools, employees, maintenance, regulation, server costs did not cost billions?

    Someone estimated that Fortnite alone costs Apple $50,000 to keep in the App Store.
    cornchipFileMakerFellercat52watto_cobra
  • Reply 19 of 81
    BeatsBeats Posts: 2,286member
    B-Mc-C said:
    The hearing has disappeared from Judge Chen’s calendar tomorrow. Trying to figure out why.
    Isn't that the judge who hates Apple?
    cat52
  • Reply 20 of 81
    mwhitemwhite Posts: 262member
    5 days left.
    watto_cobra
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