The fight between Apple and Epic Games is about to cause some collateral damage to developers who have nothing at all to do with Fortnite. Apple will revoke Epic’s access to development tools for Unreal Engine 4 on iOS on Aug. 28, unless a motion filed by Epic is successful at blocking that directive.
That 34-page motion can be read here, and it makes the point that Apple’s actions “will irreparably damage Epic’s reputation among Fortnite users and be catastrophic for the future of the separate Unreal Engine business.” Games that utilize UE4 won’t be deleted from the App Store, but they will be unable to stay compatible with new iOS versions if Apple succeeds in its endeavor.
According to Epic, this action is classified as “quintessential irreparable harm” to the Unreal Engine, due to the “ensuing impact on the Unreal Engine’s viability, and the trust and confidence developers have in that engine.”
Epic’s likely correct in that assessment — and perhaps overall in this fight — though the company’s opening statement alone makes one’s skin crawl with its disingenuous nature:
Epic spoke out against Apple’s policies and faced no retaliation; it wasn’t until Epic broke the terms of service and then filed a suit against Apple that retaliation occurred. And Apple didn’t retaliate because Epic gave Fortnite players a “choice,” but because, again, those terms of service were violated. You can argue about whether they’re fair or not, but those are the established guidelines as they exist right now.
Obviously, I’m not a lawyer, and Epic likely has several well-paid attorneys arguing its case, but it’s hard to see how this reasoning will stand up under even the remotest of scrutiny. If even I can figure out a counter-argument, you’d have to assume that Apple’s legal counsel will do a lot better.