The ongoing war over Fortnite took another twist on Tuesday as Apple filed a lawsuit against Epic Games, seeking damages for “significant harm”.
In a filing to a California district court, Apple slammed Epic for an alleged breach of contract after it inserted a “Trojan horse” into Fortnite – a direct payment method in-app purchases that by-passed Apple’s 30% cut.
In strong language, Apple says Epic’s conduct has threatened the existence of the iOS ecosystem and pushed back against Epic’s self-characterisation as a “modern corporate Robin Hood.”
It says Epic wants to “reap the benefits of the App Store without paying for them” and holds a view it is “too successful to play by the same rules as everyone else.” Apple says that its relationship with Apple has earned Epic more than $600 million through in-app purchases.
“Epic’s flagrant disregard for its contractual commitments and other misconduct has caused significant harm to Apple,” the filing from Apple’s legal counsel says. “Left unchecked, Epic’s conduct threatens the very existence of the iOS ecosystem and its tremendous value to consumers.”
Epic immediately sued Apple after it removed Fortnite from the App Store following the breach of the agreed-upon App Store guidelines on revenue sharing. A countersuit is exceptionally common in these circumstances, so it’s no surprise to see Apple fire back.
Apple’s filing isn’t about the money it is losing from its cut of in-app purchases from Fortnite – a drop in the ocean considering the wider App Store and Services division revenue stream – but the existential threat it claims Epic’s alleged breach does to its App Store business model.
A full hearing on the matter is scheduled for September 28. Fortnite gamers will be hoping the matter can be resolved amicably, so they can start playing the new season on iPhone and iPad.