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Last week saw Fortnite pulled from the Apple Store and now developer Epic Games says that any game made with the Unreal Engine is at risk of being kicked from the store, too. This could mean many third-party games could be victims of the legal battle between Epic Games and Apple.
A recent move by Epic Games to allow Fortnite players to buy virtual currency at a discount away from the Apple Store has led to a bitter dispute between the two companies. Apple takes a 30% cut of any sales made through the Apple Store, so Epic's move to offer currency for Mac players elsewhere meant Apple couldn't take a cut of the revenue. In response, Apple removed Fortnite from the Apple Store. Epic had planned for this and within an hour of being delisted, the developer's lawyers filed a suit against Apple, calling the company an unfair monopoly.
In a new court filing submitted last night, Epic says that Apple has responded to the lawsuit by telling Epic it will cut off its "access to all development tools necessary to create software for Apple's platforms-including for the Unreal Engine Epic offers to third-party developers, which Apple has never claimed violated any Apple policy."
Epic is calling for the court to grant an injunction and stop Apple from cutting off access to Apple development tools because it's a move that will impact many developers who have nothing to do with Apple and Epic's current dispute.
As well as being a game developer, Epic Games has been a fundamental part of the game industry for decades as the creator of the Unreal Engine. This game development software is used in thousands of games, from the biggest AAA releases to the smallest student projects. A major feature of the software is that it has tools that streamline porting a game to multiple platforms - making it easier for developers to release their game on all the major consoles and mobile phone platforms.
If Apple blocks games made with the Unreal Engine, it will prevent games already made in the engine and currently in development from being released on the store - including some major releases.
In its filing, Epic says "If the Unreal Engine can no longer support Apple platforms, the software developers that use it will be forced to use alternatives. The damage to Epic's ongoing business and to its reputation and trust with its customers will be unquantifiable and irreparable."
Epic says that the court must stop Apple "to prevent Apple from crushing Epic before this case could ever get to judgment".
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