Apple vs. Epic Games: Inside The Real Life Battle Royale

August 25, 2020

Fortnite is the game that launched the “Battle Royale” mode into the stratosphere. Now, the whole world knows what this term means: that only one victor will be left standing when the fighting stops.

Now, it looks like the Battle Royale has escaped our screens and crossed over into real life. Epic Games, the maker of Fortnite, is now taking on the tech giant Apple. The fighting is fierce on both sides, and it can be difficult for even the most dedicated gamer to stay on top of these events.

What’s behind all the fighting, and what will the fallout mean for gamers? Here is everything you need to know about the real life battle royale between Apple and Epic Games.

Direct payment controversy

It may not be surprising that all of this started over money. However, the exact way that things went down was pretty unexpected!

With Apple devices, users must use Apple’s purchasing mechanics within the App Store for things like game purchases or subscription services. For example, Fortnite players on Apple devices would use Apple’s in-app system to pay $9.99 in turn for 1000 V-Bucks for Fortnite.

The controversy started when Epic Games added a direct payment system to their game. This allowed users to pay only $7.99 within the game for 1000 V-Bucks instead of $9.99 through Apple.

Needless to say, Apple was not pleased.

RELATED: Epic Games Sues Apple After Fortnite Is Removed From App Stores

Apple makes Fortnite disappear

The first step that Apple took against Epic Games was also the most obvious. Epic’s changes affected everyone playing Fortnite on an Apple device. Therefore, Apple removed the ability to play Fortnite on their devices.

Apple yanked Fortnite from their App Store on August 13, and you might think the story ended there. However, Epic Games turned around and sued Apple over their various iOs commission rates and policies. And Epic made it very public by involving their army of fans to take part in an anti-Apple social media campaign.

Just as Epic Games escalated their attacks, Apple escalated its response. And their next response is one that could shake the gaming world to its core.

Ripping out developer’s hearts

Not content to remove Fortnite and take on Epic in court, Apple announced they would be removing Epic’s developer account by the end of the month. This is important because Epic created the Unreal Engine, and they use their developer account to make developments and tweaks to the engine that help it run better on Apple devices.

Many gamers on the sidelines saw this as the definitive moment that Apple took things too far. After all, an attempt to hurt development of the Unreal Engine is something that may have extremely far-reaching consequences that go well beyond Epic Games.

Whose fault is it?

Watching this back-and-forth between the different mega-companies, and many people have a simple question: whose fault is this?

It’s easy to point the finger at Epic Games, as their attempt to circumvent Apple most definitely started things. At the same time, Epic sees themselves as the point of the spear that will make Apple’s App Store policies fair for companies everywhere.

In other words, Apple thinks Epic started this by introducing direct payments. And Epic thinks Apple started this by introducing unfair App Store policies that need to be modified.

An easy fix?

Are things between these companies going to keep escalating, and will they each see their day in court? In many ways, that depends on Epic Games.

As Apple quickly pointed out, all Epic has to do is update Fortnite and effectively remove the direct payment option. By doing this, they could effectively bring Fortnite back to the App Store and end the threat to their developer account.

Then again, it seems like Epic was planning to take on Apple for a while now. And it seems unlikely they will back down after investing so much time and effort into this fight.

The effects on other games and other gamers

Despite its popularity, Fortnite is a very controversial game. Some love the game for its inclusive nature, while some revile it as a haven for casual players and kiddie gamers. Nonetheless, gamers everywhere should be concerned about what happens if Apple goes after Epic’s developer tools.

If that happens, it will basically force every developer who is currently using the Unreal Engine to switch to another engine. Countless creators who have nothing to do with this feud are going to face major delays and falling profits, including plenty who sell their games via the App Store.

And as Epic noted, this goes beyond video games. Plenty of non-gaming apps rely on the Unreal Engine, and Apple’s attempt to punish Epic Games are going to affect tons of players and publishers alike.

Epic digs in

With the looming threat of losing developer access, you might think Epic Games would back down. Instead, they have dug in. And they’ve done it in a very hilarious way.

Epic recently announced a #FreeFortnite tournament event that took place on August 23. This tournament allowed players to win everything from non-Apple gaming hardware to an anti-Apple gaming skin.

The skin in question was the “Tart Tycoon,” an evil apple man who features in Epic’s “Nineteen Eighty-Fortnite” video. The video itself is a wicked parody of Apple’s classic 1984 advertisement.

With stunts like this tournament, it looks like the clash of companies is just getting started.

RELATED: Epic Games Hosting #FreeFortnite Tournament on August 23, Following Apple’s Decision to Ban Fortnite

Epic wins the first round… sort of

Epic Games was obviously ready for this legal showdown. And so far, things have worked out pretty well for them.

Epic previously requested that Apple put Fortnite back into the app store and that Apple maintains Epic’s access to its developer tools. On August 24, a judge rendered a decision that mostly benefits Epic.

The federal judge’s ruling keeps Apple from yanking away Epic’s developer access. This counts as a major win for both Epic Games and the countless developers relying on the Unreal Engine.

However, the judge did not force Apple to restore Fortnite to the app store. And that means that this legal battle between these major companies has only just begun.

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