To quote Fortnite, the "first chapter" of the "season" of the clash between Epic Games and Apple has ended, but the war – or the battle royale, if you prefer – continues (if you missed the first episodes, you can recover them HERE ). Cupertino kept its promise, and immediately terminated the Epic Games developer account when the ultimatum expired. The Unreal Engine, and all the games that use it on the App Store, however, have been saved.
The two sides have remained, until now, firm and determined in their positions, and the tension is still high: and now the software house opens the next chapter, continuing with the legal actions and turning to the court of Northern District of California with a new document (you can consult it in full at the link in SOURCE), with the aim of obtaining the forced reinstatement of Fortnite within the App Store in court.
Today we asked the Court to stop Apple’s retaliation against Epic for daring to challenge its unlawful restrictions while our antitrust case proceeds. This is a necessary step to free consumers and developers from Apple's costly, anti-competitive control. https://t.co/r2XxhitjMp
– Epic Games Newsroom (@EpicNewsroom) September 5, 2020
Once again Epic uses players as a sort of dialectical "shield". The gist is: it's the players who lose out, even more than the developers; it is not only us, but especially them that Apple is harming with its policy. Certainly, however, even Epic is not doing very well, in the current state of things, considering that to support its thesis it brings impressive data: out of 350 million users with an Epic account, 116 million – practically a third – are well were playing Fortnite from an iOS device. And since the game was removed from the App Store, 60% of these players have already abandoned it. Epic's position is well summarized by this passage contained in the document:
Fortnite is more than a game. It is a very social community, and its value largely derives from the ability to connect users to each other. Epic has built a community that people trust. By removing Fortnite from the App Store, Apple has deprived millions of users of their friends and dear contacts within the game's community, which relies entirely on connectivity. (…) The number of active players on iOS has dropped by 60% since Fortnite was removed from the App Store, and the ban has already done irreparable damage to Epic's reputation. (…) These users may never return. The disappearance of Fortnite from iOS also substantially prevents Epic's broader plan, i.e. transforming Fortnite into an all-round meta-universe, a persistent virtual and interactive space. Damage like this to Epic's most prominent app can't be counted into damage.
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In proportion, the damage that Epic Games is reporting from this affair – being its business more limited than that of Cupertino – is greater than what Apple is accusing. If it will be a war of position and resistance, then the decisive factor will be the ability to absorb economic and reputational losses by aiming for a legal victory which then – and here Epic must have done its calculations well – is able to guarantee a return over time, justifying the previous effort, which at that point would be worth as a kind of investment. The battle royale continues.