Epic Games has filed a motion against Apple in their on-going legal battle over Epic direct payment and the removal of Fortnite from the App Store; asking that Apple be prohibited from “taking any adverse action against Epic.”
As we previously reported, Epic Games announced that the price of V-Bucks, Fornite‘s in-game currency that can be bought with real money, would permanently be 20% cheaper on all platforms. However, on Android and iOS, a new payment method was introduced.
Rather than buying the V-Bucks through Google Play and the App Store respectively, Epic Games launched the “Epic direct payment.” “When you choose to use Epic direct payments,” the announcement explains, “you save up to 20% as Epic passes along payment processing savings to you.”
This is due to Apple and Google collecting a 30% fee through all V-Bucks bought on their respective platforms. As such, the 20% drop has not been applied to purchases made through them. Epic Games state that “If Apple or Google lower their fees on payments in the future, Epic will pass along the savings to you.”
Shortly after this announcement, Apple and Google both removed Fortnite from the App Store and Google Play Stores respectively due to Epic Games violating their terms of service.
Epic Games issued legal action against both, citing that they had a monopoly over their stores on iOS and Android. Apple had allegedly threatened to terminate all of Epic Games’ App Store developer accounts and cut off tools for development on iOS and Mac.
Epic Games may have been expecting action from Apple however, having made a parody of Apple’s own 1984 commercial; appealing to their fans to support them. Further, the #FreeFortnite Cup was recently announced; acting as “the final days of the entire Fortnite community’s ability to play together.”
Apple later accused Epic Games CEO and founder Tim Sweeney of asking for exception from the App Store terms and conditions. Sweeney tweeted that Apple’s statement was misleading, and presented screenshots of the alleged emails. Microsoft also filed a statement of support, favoring Epic Games.
In late August, Apple terminated Epic Games’ App Store developer account. This means Epic Games will no longer be able to submit new apps, or updates to existing ones (such as the Infinity Blade games).
Epic would successfully win a restraining order that month, denying Apple removing Unreal Engine-based games from the App Store (thereby harming developers who used the engine for their games).
Now, Epic Games has filed a court order to re-instate Fortnite on the App Store. In the new motion (via GamesIndustry.biz), an injunction was requested with four goals (Page ii in the document, page 2 in the .pdf).
These are to prevent removal of banning of Epic Games’ apps or their updates using Epic direct payment, “restraining Apple from taking any adverse action against Epic” such as terminating Apple Developer accounts, prevent apple from removing Fortnite or its updates from any user’s device, and restoring Epic Games’ Apple Developer account.
Epic Games state they make the motion on the grounds that “(1) Epic is likely to succeed on the merits of its claims that Apple’s conduct violates the Sherman Act; (2) absent a preliminary injunction, Epic is likely to suffer irreparable harm; (3) the balance of harms tips sharply in Epic’s favor; and (4) the public interest supports an injunction.”
The Sherman Antitrust Act of 1890 prohibits anti-competitive agreements, or attempts to monopolize a market. This law is then supported by others introduced later, focusing on more specific examples and cases.
In a statement to CNN Business, Epic Games stated “today we ask the Court to stop Apple from retaliating against Epic for daring to challenge Apple’s misconduct while our antitrust case proceeds.”
Apple re-stated their prior comments to CNN Business. “The court recommended that Epic comply with the App Store guidelines while their case moves forward, guidelines they’ve followed for the past decade until they created this situation. Epic has refused. We hope that we can work together again in the future, but unfortunately that is not possible today.”
We will keep you informed as we learn more.
Image: Epic Games