The recent battle between Apple and Epic Games has gotten more interesting. Cupertino removed Fortnite from its App Store after Epic Games included an option to make in-app purchases directly from their store, instead of paying Apple’s 30 percent fee. This also led to more legal problems for Apple, as Epic Games sued it for anti-competitive restrictions and a cool video mocking Apple’s 1984 Macintosh ad. However, things don’t end here, as Apple is taking further actions to block Epic from its platform completely.
Apple has notified Epic Games that it will lose all access to its development tools on August 28. This means that Epic won’t have the tools required to create software for the Unreal Engine that the company offers to third-party developers for their games. Epic Games has filed a court order in a Northern California court looking to stop Apple from removing Epic’s App Store access.
The filing explains that:
“Apple told Epic that by August 28, Apple will cut off Epic’s access to all development tools necessary to create software for Apple’s platforms–including for the Unreal Engine Epic offers to third-party developers, which Apple has never claimed violated any Apple policy.”
Apple’s letter to Epic explains how the company can avoid losing its access to its platform.
“Upon further review of the activity associated with your Apple Developer Program membership, we have identified several violations of the Apple Developer Program License Agreement. Therefore, your Apple Developer Program account will be terminated if the violations set forth below are not cured within 14 days. […]
“If your membership is terminated, you may no longer submit apps to the App Store, and your apps still available for distribution will be removed. You will also lose access to the following programs, technologies, and capabilities:
– All Apple software, SDKs, APIs, and developer tools
– Pre-release versions of iOS, iPad OS, macOS, tvOS, watchOS
– Pre-release versions of beta tools such as Reality Composer, Create ML, Apple Configurator, etc.
– Notarization service for macOS apps
– App Store Connect platform and support (for example, assistance with account transition, password reset, app name issues)
– Access to provisioning portal for certificate generation, and provisioning profile generation
– Ability to enable Apple services in-app (i.e. Apple Pay, CloudKit, PassKit, Music Kit, HomeKit, Push Notifications, Siri Shortcuts, Sign in with Apple, kernel extensions, FairPlay Streaming)
– Access to Apple-issued keys for connecting to services such as MusicKit, DeviceCheck, APNs, CloudKit, Wallet
– Access to Developer ID signing certificates and Kernel Extension signing certificates
– Developer Technical Support
– Participation in Universal App Quick Start Program, including the right to use the Developer Transition Kit (which must be returned to Apple)
– Engineering efforts to improve hardware and software performance of Unreal Engine on Mac and iOS hardware; optimize Unreal Engine on the Mac for creative workflows, virtual sets and their CI/Build Systems; and adoption and support of ARKit features and future VR features into Unreal Engine by their XR team
We hope that you are able to cure your breaches of the Apple Program License Agreement and continue to participate in the program.”
Epic is also trying to prevent Apple’s restrictive actions, as losing access to Mac and iOS developer tools may have a considerable impact on the apps and games using Epic’s Unreal Engine. It is also trying to stop Apple from removing the Fortnite app or modifying the Fortnite code, but right now, it can only wait for the court to decide on the matter.