Epic's CEO sent Apple a 2 a.m. declaration of war over 'Fortnite': 'Epic will no longer adhere to Apple's payment processing restrictions' (AAPL)
- Last week, the wildly popular game “Fortnite” got an update on Apple and Android smartphones that allowed players to bypass the companies’ digital payment systems. Instead of going through Apple and Google, payments went directly to the “Fortnite” studio, Epic Games.
- In response, Apple and Google pulled “Fortnite” from their digital storefronts and cited the update as a terms-of-service violation — which caused Epic to sue both companies.
- In a new legal filing, Apple revealed that Epic Games CEO Tim Sweeney sent a 2 a.m. declaration of war to Apple CEO Tim Cook and other execs. “I’m writing to tell you that Epic will no longer adhere to Apple’s payment processing restrictions,” Sweeney said. “We choose to follow this path in the firm belief that history and law are on our side.”
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Apple and “Fortnite” maker Epic Games are in the opening stages of a heated legal battle, which started with “Fortnite” being pulled from Apple’s iPhone and iPad App Store last week.
In the latest legal filing, Apple revealed an email sent by Epic Games CEO Tim Sweeney to Apple CEO Tim Cook and several other Apple executives. Sweeney sent the email at 2 a.m. PT, and in it laid out Epic’s plan to cut Apple out of payments in “Fortnite” on iPhone and iPad.
“I’m writing to tell you that Epic will no longer adhere to Apple’s payment processing restrictions,” Sweeney wrote. “Today, Epic is launching Epic direct payments in ‘Fortnite’ on iOS, offering customers the choice of paying in-app through Epic direct payments or through Apple payments, and passing on the savings of Epic direct payments to customers in the form of lower prices.”
The move to circumvent Apple’s App Store was a direct violation of the terms-of-service agreements Apple makes with app developers. Epic knew this, according to Sweeney’s letter, but proceeded regardless because of, “the firm belief that history and law are on our side.”
Following the update to “Fortnite” that included the ability to pay Epic directly, Apple removed the game from the store and nixed Epic’s developer contract. Instead of buying in-game virtual money (“V-bucks”) through Apple or Google, players could buy it directly from Epic — at a 30% discount, no less.
Apple and Google said the update was a terms-of-service violation for any developer with an app on the App Store or Google Play.
Future updates to the game aren’t allowed, and there is no way to download it unless you’ve previously downloaded it to your Apple account. When the game’s next major content update arrives on August 27, “Fortnite” players on iPhone and iPad will be left behind.
After Epic filed a lawsuit against Apple last week, the company followed up by filing for a temporary restraining order against Apple to keep the company from “removing, de-listing, refusing to list or otherwise making
unavailable the app ‘Fortnite,’ including any update thereof.”
For its part, Apple says the issue is Epic’s to fix.
“We very much want to keep the company as part of the Apple Developer Program and their apps on the Store,” a representative told Business Insider earlier this week. “The problem Epic has created for itself is one that can easily be remedied if they submit an update of their app that reverts it to comply with the guidelines they agreed to and which apply to all developers.”
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