Wednesday 16 September 2020 2:44 pm

Apple accuses Fortnite creator of 'publicity stunt' in app dispute

Apple has said any damages experienced by Fortnite creator Epic Games after being removed from its App Store are “entirely self-inflicted”, as a legal battle between the two firms rages on.

In new legal filings, Apple said Epic could immediately reverse the tech giant’s decision to ban the app by complying with the App Store’s rules and removing an in-app payment system that allowed Epic to bypass Apple’s mandatory commission fees.

“Epic started a fire, and poured gasoline on it, and now asks this court for emergency assistance in putting it out,” it said.

Read more: Apple boots Fortnite off App Store after challenge to payment rules

By refusing to obey the rules, Apple said the games firm is “holding its own customers hostage to gain leverage in a business dispute”.

Epic won a temporary restraining order against Apple last month, which ruled that Apple couldn’t retaliate against Epic by deleting its developer account, which also supports Epic’s gaming tech Unreal Engine.

A full court hearing to decide whether Apple should be forced to reinstate Fortnite on the App Store while legal proceedings continue is scheduled for 28 September.

In today’s filings Apple suggested that the legal battle was a bid by Epic to reinvigorate the Fortnite franchise, as App Store data showed rapidly declining download rates.

Read more: Fortnite creator Epic Games raises $1.78bn

It also attempted to diminish Epic’s claims that the ban was causing the firm “irreparable damage”, noting that just 10 per cent of regular Fortnite users play on iPhone or iPad.

Epic is also caught up in the political storm raging around Tiktok in the US, as Chinese media giant Tencent owns a significant stake in the gaming company.

It is not known whether the Trump administration would force Tencent to divest from Epic, if plans to prevent US companies from working with Chinese businesses go ahead.

Epic Games did not immediately respond to a request for comment.