The saga of Epic versus Apple continues to unfold, and every day calls for more popcorn and hand wringing. In a tweet today, Epic announced that Apple threatened to “terminate all [their] developer accounts and cut Epic off from iOS and Mac development tools.” That outcome would have drastic effects on anyone reliant on Unreal Engine.
The current drama started when Epic decided to bypass Apple’s store policies, and take payment without using Apple-approved (or Google-approved) systems. You could buy V-bucks from Apple or Google, or get them direct from Epic for a discount. Developers aren’t allowed to do that (with some exceptions), so predictable Apple (and Google) gave Fortnite the boot.
Apple removed Fortnite from the App Store and has informed Epic that on Friday, August 28 Apple will terminate all our developer accounts and cut Epic off from iOS and Mac development tools. We are asking the court to stop this retaliation. Details here: https://t.co/3br1EHmyd8
— Epic Games Newsroom (@EpicNewsroom) August 17, 2020
Epic might be a household name thanks to Fortnite, but that’s not the only monkey in its barrel of profits. The company is home to several high-profile games, a PC game store, and it’s the creator of Unreal Engine. Unreal Engine is among the most popular game development engines, and hundreds of third-party developers use it.
But it isn’t just games that work with Unreal Engine, Disney+ hit show The Mandalorian famously used Unreal Engines to create its 3D environments. When filming, giant LED screens let actors see the environment they were supposed to be in, giving them context for what was happening in the background.
According to Epic, with Apple’s move, the company won’t be able to notarize Mac apps anymore. MacOS requires apps to be notarized now, even if the program comes from sources outside Apple’s store. That means Unreal Engine would go without updates on iOS and Mac, forcing developers to either abandon it or move to Windows.
All of this may be moot, as Epic filed for a preliminary junction against Apple. It’s asking the lower courts to stop Apple from following through on its thread. Now we’re left waiting to see which company blinks first.