Epic Games: ‘Apple is trying to cynically kill off developers that stand up to them’

Epic Games has slammed Apple for “trying to cynically kill off developers that stand up to them” following the tech giant terminating an account held by the company.

The comments made by Epic Games Director of Public Policy, Leo Rees, follows Apple blocking the parent company of Fortnite, from launching a rival app store on iOS devices in Europe.

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He said: “Consumers should be able to download apps from where they want, just like on every other computing device.”

In a blog post, Epic Games shared several exchanges with Apple in which it outlined plans for its developer account, which included creating an Epic Games Store iOS app and a Fortnite native app for distribution via that store.

It said: “In terminating Epic’s developer account, Apple is taking out one of the largest potential competitors to the Apple App Store. They are undermining our ability to be a viable competitor and they are showing other developers what happens when you try to compete with Apple or are critical of their unfair practices.

“If Apple maintains its power to kick a third party marketplace off iOS at its sole discretion, no reasonable developer would be willing to utilise a third party app store, because they could be permanently separated from their audience at any time.”

However, according to the technology giant, one of the reasons they terminated Epic’s developer account within a few weeks of approval was because its CEO, Tim Sweeney publicly criticised its proposed DMA compliance plan, in an X (formerly Twitter) post.

Epic Games added: “Apple also claims that Epic is a threat to their ecosystem, but this is an entirely unjustified excuse to terminate one of our accounts.”

Meanwhile, Apple responded, claiming Epic’s “egregious breach of its contractual obligations to Apple led courts to determine that Apple has the right to terminate ‘any or all of Epic Games’ wholly owned subsidiaries, affiliates, and/or other entities under Epic Games’ control at any time and at Apple’s sole discretion.’”

It added: “In light of Epic’s past and ongoing behaviour, Apple chose to exercise that right.”

This disagreement is the latest in nearly five years of issues between the two firms, which started in 2020 when a Fortnite update allowed gamers to purchase digital coins via a direct payment feature, going around Apple’s rule that iOS games use in-app purchases.

As a result, Epic sued the tech giant, with California’s Ninth Circuit Court ruling in favour of the game developer.

Meanwhile, the Supreme Court declined to take up the case, in which both companies appealed the ruling, with Epic Games claiming there were “legal errors” and that Apple had violated federal antitrust laws.