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Apple Threatens to Terminate Epic Games’ Developer Account on August 28 Over Fortnite App Store Protest

Apple Threatens to Terminate Epic Games’ Developer Account on August 28 Over Fortnite App Store Protest

Apple has told Fortnite publisher Epic Games it will terminate the company’s complete access to its App Store and app development tools. Epic Games today said that Apple told it that on August 28, all access will be terminated.

The termination will also end Epic’s access to the development tools it uses to create software for the Unreal Engine it offers to third-party developers for use in their games. That move could have a significant impact on all of the Mac and iOS apps and games that use Epic’s Unreal Engine.

Epic has responded to Apple’s move by filing a court order in a Nothern California court to prevent Apple from removing Epic’s access to the App Store.

From the filing:

It told Epic that by August 28, Apple will cut off Epic’s 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.

Apple has told Epic Games that Epic can prevent being locked out of the App Store by following App Store guidelines:

Upon further review of the activity associated with your Apple Developer Program membership, we have identified several violations of the Apple Developer Program License Agreement. Therefore, your Apple Developer Program account will be terminated if the violations set forth below are not cured within 14 days. […]

If your membership is terminated, you may no longer submit apps to the ‌App Store‌, and your apps still available for distribution will be removed. You will also lose access to the following programs, technologies, and capabilities:

– All Apple software, SDKs, APIs, and developer tools
– Pre-release versions of iOS, iPad OS, macOS, tvOS, watchOS
– Pre-release versions of beta tools such as Reality Composer, Create ML, Apple Configurator, etc.
– Notarization service for macOS apps
– ‌App Store‌ Connect platform and support (for example, assistance with account transition, password reset, app name issues)
– TestFlight
– Access to provisioning portal for certificate generation, and provisioning profile generation
– Ability to enable Apple services in-app (i.e. Apple Pay, CloudKit, PassKit, Music Kit, HomeKit, Push Notifications, Siri Shortcuts, Sign in with Apple, kernel extensions, FairPlay Streaming)
– Access to Apple-issued keys for connecting to services such as MusicKit, DeviceCheck, APNs, CloudKit, Wallet
– Access to Developer ID signing certificates and Kernel Extension signing certificates
– Developer Technical Support
– Participation in Universal App Quick Start Program, including the right to use the Developer Transition Kit (which must be returned to Apple)
– Engineering efforts to improve hardware and software performance of Unreal Engine on Mac and iOS hardware; optimize Unreal Engine on the Mac for creative workflows, virtual sets and their CI/Build Systems; and adoption and support of ARKit features and future VR features into Unreal Engine by their XR team

We hope that you are able to cure your breaches of the Apple Program License Agreement and continue to participate in the program.

Epic is asking the court to prevent Apple from restricting, suspending, or terminating Epic’s access to the Apple Developer program. Epic is also asking the court to restrain Apple from removing, de-listing, refusing to list, or otherwise making the Fortnite app unavailable, or modifying the Fortnite code.

Apple last week removed Fortnite from the App Store, just hours after Epic Games debuted a new direct payment option to get around Apple’s in-app purchases rules that give the Cupertino firm a 30% cut of the action. Epic Games immediately filed a lawsuit against Apple for pulling Fortnite from the ‌App Store‌.

Epic Games made a short available on their YouTube channel entitled “Nineteen Eighty-Fortnite,” which spoofs Apple’s famous “1984” Macintosh debut ad. The short encourages viewers to “join the fight to stop 2020 from becoming 1984.” The video is also available for viewing in Fortnite.

Currently, Fortnite remains unavailable in the App Store.