Billion-dollar slap fight round three. FIGHT!
Epic continues to pettily antagonise Apple in their ever-escalating legal battle over Apple’s decision to remove Fortnite from the App Store and rescind Epic’s membership for the Apple Developer’s Program.
Still painting their billion-dollar business as a scrappy underdog, trying to lure Fortnite fans to fight their battles for them in the public forum, Epic are now hosting a #FreeFortnite Cup, a new tournament starting 23rd August that will serve as fans last chance to cross-play between iOS and Android devices until either a settlement is reached or the heatwave death of the universe ends our collective weariness once and for all.
The prizes are, unsurprisingly for a company behaving the way Epic is, mostly stupid.
Ten or more points will earn you a ‘Tart Tycoon’ skin, the sinister apple character from Epic’s parody of the famous 1984 Apple ad. The fact the score is so low for this unlock is the point, they likely want every player using this skin as a massive middle finger to Apple.
The top 20,000 players in the cup will receive a #FreeFortnite hat, a parody of the old Apple rainbow logo with a llama in place of an apple.
The best of the best can also win gaming laptops, Samsung Galaxy tablets, and consoles. Probably handheld to get at least a few of your mobile players to switch to Fortnite on PC and console but it is essentially bribery to ensure you remain loyal to their brand over that other brand.
DING DING! Round four! FIGHT!
Apple ignored all the petty jabs and focused on the more grown-up legal matters. They countered Epic’s antitrust lawsuit with a legal filing that claims Epic approached Apple for a special deal.
First reported by CNBC, former Apple senior vice president Phil Schiller wrote that Epic CEO Tim Sweeney approached Apple to make a deal that would “fundamentally change the way in which Epic offers apps on Apple’s iOS platform.”
The deal with entail Epic being able to offer an Epic Games Store app on the App Store that would let iOS users purchase gams directly from Epic, bypassing the Apple payment system.
When Apple rejected this suggestion, Epic responded by sneaking in a direct payment option to Fortnite. This was considered a breach of their existing agreement that triggered Apple’s response.
Schiller continued to add that Epic’s claims that Apple could irrevocably harm Epic’s business by removing them from the developer program are inaccurate as “All of the injury Epic claims to itself, game players, and developers could have been avoided if Epic filed its lawsuit without breaching its agreements. All of the alleged injury for which Epic improperly seeks emergency relief could disappear tomorrow if Epic cured its breach.”
To put this as crudely as this nonsense deserves, Apple claim Epic pooped in their own bed and if they want to keep their room they should be the one to clean the sheets.
Epic CEO Tim Sweeney countered with the claim that Apple’s statement is misleading, publishing an email dated 30th June between himself and Apple executives where Sweeney makes his request for an Epic Games Store app and hopes to see this options available to all iOS developers. While Sweeney does not deny a request to break Apple’s developer agreement, he does contest that it was not a “special agreement.”
I am not a legal expert (or even a legal amateur, frankly) but I am not sure this distinction matters when the deal was rejected and Epic still tried to get what they wanted. It seems like Epic know they are in the wrong, even if their suggestion that Apple put unreasonable restrictions on developers holds real merit, the restrictions are in place and they agreed to adhere to them. Breaking that agreement puts them in the wrong. They may have the moral victory but the legal victory is another matter.
Epic really wants you to rattle your sabres and pound your shields in their defence, the only hope they have of pressuring Apple into changing is by turning public opinion against them. Will it work? God, I hope not. I don’t want more billion-dollar companies to learn the lesson that they can act like petulant children and get what they want.
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