Apple officially terminates Epic’s dev account, cutting Fortnite iOS and Mac players from future updates

    
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DULL SURPRISE

This past Friday, Apple made good on its threat to terminate Epic Games’ developer accounts on iOS and Mac, which now effectively cuts off players of Epic’s titles on the platforms from seeing future updates including Fortnite, ie the game that was the reason for this whole sordid mess. And for an extra twinge of spiciness, Apple apparently put PUBG as Friday’s featured app.

Apple released a statement shortly after the move, further claiming that the whole matter is purely of Epic Games’ doing:

“We are disappointed that we have had to terminate the Epic Games account on the App Store. We have worked with the team at Epic Games for many years on their launches and releases. 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. Instead they repeatedly submit Fortnite updates designed to violate the guidelines of the App Store. This is not fair to all other developers on the App Store and is putting customers in the middle of their fight. We hope that we can work together again in the future, but unfortunately that is not possible today.”

This will affect only games that Epic has made and released on iOS and Mac, but it will not have any effect on developers using Epic’s Unreal Engine, as the judge hearing the case already halted Apple from limiting access to the engine in the interest of “increasing avenues for creativity and innovation, not eliminating them.”

Epic Games has since updated an ongoing FAQ related to the fight, confirming that Fortnite’s recently released Chapter 2 – Season 4 update is not available for Apple device users while also further explaining why Epic is fighting:

“Apple’s policies would have even blocked the World Wide Web if it had been invented after the iPhone, because Apple policies disallow running code not reviewed by Apple, accepting payments directly from customers, and accessing content not reviewed by Apple — all fundamental features of the web. These policies, together with Apple’s chilling enforcement strategy, directly impede innovation and invention of entirely new kinds of apps, games, and businesses.

“Epic is one of the many game developers who has long worked to advance better and fairer platform practices, such as cross-platform gameplay, communication, accounts, and items in Fortnite on 7 platforms (though now only 6). We are committed to securing lasting freedoms for all. This is why we fight.”

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flying_dutchman

I feel bad for neither party….

Apple has been floating by with sub-par products and cramming propriety, software, peripherals, cables, and everything else they could think of down consumers throats for years. If Microsoft was actually capable of releasing two decent OS’s in a row Apple would have gone under after the IPOD era.

Epic on the other-hand has made such a ludicrous amount of money they started to believe there own hype. Just because your PUBG knock-off has floated to the top of all the other Pubg knock-off’s doesn’t mean you rule the world. Even if you have more money than most countries.

Both parties are just flexing on each other and players are caught in the middle of it.

masterblaster0
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masterblaster0

Wonder how much money this has cost Epic already?

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R'nageo

I’m with Apple here. Their main selling point is precisely the high quality of their products together with the closed environment they offer. They may not have as many apps available as other platforms, but each one will have been tested against their different products and will run on them.

By handling all monetary transactions, they are also offering a safe payment platform for all their customers (while taking their cut, of course). Allowing even one developer to opt out of their systems would open the door for any other to do so as well, including developers with less than good intentions or simply careless to correctly protect all the highly confidential data involved.

Then would come customers wanting money back, lawsuits from harmed users, and even if Apple could legally wash its hands from the cases, it would still destroy the image they have cultivated all these years. Better to be too strict than too lax in this case.

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Sleepy

“This is not fair to all other developers on the App Store”

We don’t want Epic dragging players into this, but we’re quite keen to drag other developers in.

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Ashfyn Ninegold

This is like watching two people you don’t like duke it out and think, yeah, beat each other up for me.

This is like watching two monstrously wealthy gangster crews screw with each other, one determined to maintain its monopoly and the other trying to take a piece of that monopoly for itself.

Market share, market share, market share. Remembering that we gamers are the market these two are fighting over, whether we like it or not.

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Bruno Brito

That thought makes the popcorn taste less good :c

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Utakata

Not really their entire doing, Apple…as Epic are not the ones that decided to pull the plug on this. But yeah, okay and whatever.

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Tee Parsley

While I love iPads, Apple sucks. Would rather see someone bloody their nose, as they’ve been screwing folks for longer.

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Bruno Brito

Yeah, but Epic isn’t better, nor will they be the ones who do that.

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traja

Epic is better though, just not good. Epic is hated for good reason for doing exclusivity deals on PC, but on iOS Apple demands exclusivity on all games. They do all the things that Epic does but a couple orders of magnitude worse.

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Bruno Brito

They aren’t better. You’re going again to drive wall of texts of why Epic is deserving of your balllicking and i’m not interested. They’re both scourges in this specific scenario, but Apple has rules and Epic broke them and thinks they have enough clout to be immune from the rules.

No. Spare me.

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Roger Christie

Apple doesn’t demand exclusivity on all ioS games. Thousands of games appear on iOS and also on Android.

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Shadex De'Marr

Does Microsoft take a cut of everything sold for Fortnite on PC?

I suppose one possible outcome for this is more game developers not releasing on Apple ever again and their users going back to playing Myth.

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cursedseishi

They do not, unless the purchase is made specifically through the “Microsoft/Windows Store” (if, for whatever ungodly reason you actually use it).

Same applies to Apple’s Macintosh computers, they don’t get a cut of things sold unless it is specifically bought from the OS X storefront.

For games specifically though? Mac isn’t a massively supported OS for them, never has been. Most uses for it are in film/art/music/Digital design. And the Iphone/mobile market in general is too big a thing for anyone to want to actually drop. Even if it doesn’t command a majority of the market in terms of user numbers, IOS sees more profits and sales of its apps than Android overall with higher per-user spending.

Android phones also have a stigma of piracy attached to its mobile market because of the prevalence of it early on.

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Kevin Smith

I’m not a fan of apple, don’t own a single apple product, but in this one instance I am glad they are doing this. Epic claims to be the good guy when all they are doing is trying to use someone else’s platform while not paying to use it. Just imagine if a dev did this on their new gaming platform they would cry foul in a heartbeat.

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John Kiser

Except that they are paying to “use it”. The very fact they need to buy and maintain a dev account just to access the store and put out updates suggests that is “paying to use it”. Also while a separate payment provider cuts apple out of a per sale thing for IAP (which incidentally isn’t freaking costing apple a god damned dime) apple could charge every app that wants to use a separate payment processor like 10 grand a year or something.

Also do you really think the “paying to use someone else’s platform” is a good thing overall when you have zero other choice in where you put that particularly when we start talking the numbers that this shit can involve (up to and over half a billion a year paid at times just by epic alone). There needs to be a reasonable cut off for what apple can collect because at some point it becomes ridiculous amounts of money that they collect.

I think Epic’s ultimate goal in this matter is to try and get apple to the bargaining table on a deal for a lower rate since fortnite brings in a ton of money and also there has to be a reasonable cut off on this whole “paying to use someone else’s platform” as distribution of apps is well easy compared to say pc or console games which eat up a ton more storage space and need more overall bandwidth at any given time. Heck a lot of the time you aren’t even fully relying on the google play or apple’s app store to even download the stuff and you are just downloading what amounts to a launcher that grabs the actual game files so that they can keep the application smaller purposefully.

Companies need to be willing to bend and look at things on a “is this actually fair” when we start talking about this kind of money instead of basically being like “WOOOOOOOOOOOOO MONEY” and being completely greedy. I still support the idea of a sliding scale that once a certain amount is earned from a title that apple and google take a smaller cut as well frankly it’s the most fair overall solution to everyone involved, but realistically speaking companies can’t seem to “adult” half the time.

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Kevin Smith

Yes I am totally 100% sure paying to use someone else platform is right. Did epic create the platform or sustain it and do maintenance or updates for the platform? The answer is no. Could epic create a phone or computer to have their games on? Yes they could. Would they? Hell no, they wouldn’t because of the cost of maintaining and updating it and production cost.

You don’t get someone to the bargaining table by basically saying I am not going to pay you what I said I would to use your services. Like saying hey build my house but then going I am not going to pay you. Just a totally absurd way of thinking. You get them to the table by saying we will remove all our business from your platform when our contract runs out. People today have no respect for contracts and agreements.

No companies don’t have to be willing to bend and let people have their way or say things are fair. That is the opposite of capitalism in a nut shell. In capitalism if you create something you can charge whatever people are willing to pay for it, that is the point. Basic supply and demand. Everyone else is willing to pay that amount to use their service because it allows them to reach millions if not billions of people they would not normally be able to reach on their own because of apples already established customer base.

I am not arguing that 30% is a great deal. I am arguing that if you make a contract with someone you honor it. On those grounds alone I would like to see epic taken to the cleaners. This whole thing is absurd.

I can’t believe you honestly think Epic is doing anything for the little guy. They are only doing this because they want more money. They are just as greedy as apple, in this case worst in my opinion. Do you think they would have lowered their price for their games if apple took a smaller share. Nope it would have stayed the exact same price.

I guess if a company decided they didn’t want to pay to use the license fee of the unreal engine that would be ok. Then they could turn around and sue epic because they don’t think it is fair to have to pay to use something someone else created. Wonder how epic would react to that as it would help the little guy if they gave their product away instead of charging for a license.

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John Kiser

Again this has nothing to do with “paying to use someone else’s platform” it has to do with paying too much to use someone else’s platform. Contracts if they come across as unfair can be challenged in court and frankly Apple’s overall behavior of late show that they need to be taken down a peg or two.

And would epic of changed their prices? Potentially as they did lower the actual prices that were going on with this whole scenario when they didn’t have to pay out a cut.

Your house analogy is flawed. It is more like apple saying “hey pay me to build your house, but any money that flows through your house I get a 30% cut of simply because I helped build it.

Epic doesn’t charge a licensing fee for unreal engine unless you specifically gross over 1 million dollars in profit and then it is a much lower rate of 5%. They aren’t taking 30% of the profit and they only start collecting after that first million so… Their terms are much more fair than most others.

You seem to think that a ToS is a legally binding contract that can’t be challenged or broken and well I gotta be the one to tell you that unless apple specifically sends out a contract a ToS can be challenged in court if the rules end up unfair. Many of those clauses of we can do whatever for whatever reason do get challenged in court and quite often the person filing suit wins depending on the situation.

There was a case with second life (i know) where someone flat out found out a back end means to get land at auction really cheap before it went up for sale properly or some such able to game the system pretty much. His account got banned and his land stripped. He sued (in my state) and the company behind second life had to reinstate his stuff and let him keep the land because it turned out to be their fault the stuff was left open etc.

Also given that epic has paid apple about 1 billion + in revenue in the last 2 or so years for fornite it is really asinine to sit there and act like they haven’t paid. Threatening apple with not continuing business after their contract expires is just going to make apple yawn and basically go “do it”. These TOS are blanket contracts and well frankly if the contract itself along with your behavior is a potential anti-trust violation then yes the behavior needs to be challenged. Apple going nuclear and then other behavior should actually be putting them square in the middle of anti-trust lawsuits soon enough if they keep up the behavior.

Again though your analogies and comparisons are flawed at best. Epic pays a developer license to even get their game on the store. Comparing it to a house built is just silly as the best actual analogy would be someone owning a business in a strip mall (epic) where they deal with the strip mall owner and pay them a lease and then the strip mall owner attempting to collect 30% of the revenue of that business simply for maintaining the strip mall in some fashion and if they attempted to do that in the real world no one would have it.

I’m also not arguing that epic shouldn’t pay some amount of money, but more that apple could lower that rate to something more reasonable once we start collecting revenue on 2 billion dollars in some cases. Apple and google could allow other payment providers, but charge a nominal fee yearly (10k – 100k somewhere around there) to allow for it. Reaching more people doesn’t equate to a company getting to keep 30% of your profits for something in perpetuity. What I’m saying is that both (well really three) companies sit down, act like freaking adults and hash out something so that customers of all of their shit can be happy instead of acting like children.

Epic doesn’t need to “create a computer” to have their games on as a real computer platform that runs games doesn’t freaking charge that fee and epic is perfectly free to have their shit in multiple store fronts or only their own and while they could build a phone themselves that again would be asinine and the cost of updating a phone is actually somewhat negligible if you run the stock version of android without changes made to it (literally just pushing out the update for your device with likely device name changes etc made to it)

Also “updating” the phones and the like should come from consumer sales as apple actually makes quite a bit of profit from each iphone sale and fortnite alone could pay for maintenance of every single application currently found on apple’s app store on a yearly basis. I think apple should get some amount from ongoing stuff, but I think once you hit a certain threshold of money that number needs to be somewhere in the neighborhood of 10-15% at most. I find the 30% reasonable when a product first hits, but again it comes down to overall gross revenue and ultimately a sliding scale based on lower percentages taken for high amounts earned could earn these companies a more favorable outlook from developers.

We can’t know for certain what epics overall stance would be on if they would lower their prices had apple taken a smaller cut instead of trying to ban it. We do know when they tried to use their own payment provider that they did in fact discount things down and they put those discounts in as a permanent thing now on all platforms.

Ultimately it’s not for you or me to decide who is wrong (everyone is wrong in the situation to me and should sit down like grown ass adults and hash it out, but that won’t happen as people tend to just get older, but maturity lacks often). Apple has a customer base, but that doesn’t guarantee a game will do well. If anything fortnite is popular on iOS because it became a popular thing on console and PC and made a big impact with a lot of people who then saw it on mobile too and were like “COOL” it didn’t become popular because of apple and it probably would of just been gone to the wayside had it not been popular before landing on the platform.

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Darthbawl

Pretty sure every person on the planet knew this was going to get all sorts of crazy.

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