#Freefortnite: the "war" between Epic Games and Apple continues

#Freefortnite: the war between Epic Games and Apple continues

Fortnite, the well-known video game of 2017, developed by Epic Games Inc. through the Unreal Engine, is not only a constant in the life of many passionate gamers, but also, and now above all, the object of a heated controversy between the manufacturer and the American giant Apple Inc.

The battlefield, which is usually seen in the video game, therefore leaves room for a real dimension, which sees two sides clashing on opposite sides. they seem unwilling to accept compromises.

The relationships between the two parties in question arise from the availability of the video game on the Apple Store, a tool that allows Fortnite users to download the game via iOS devices.

But what is the object of the discord? A step back

As often happens, the frictions between the two parties arise from commercial and economic reasons. Specifically, Epic Games complains of anti-competitive behavior perpetrated by Apple with regard to the management of the Stores, Play Stores and App Stores.

Apple, in fact, charges a royalty, between 15% and 30%, for each transaction made by users through the products purchased, even free of charge, on its Store. Although, therefore, Fortnite users are used to making purchases of even just cents, all this triggers a mechanism that could yield to Apple anything but small amounts.

A superficial reading could lead to a legitimate claim on the part of the development house, but would leave out of this analysis a non-controversial reality: between Epic Games and Apple a contract has been previously stipulated, also containing the agreement on the aforementioned percentages.

It is therefore clear that both contractual parties were aware of the terms of the agreement, and this could represent an element clearly against the claims raised by Epic Games.

Attack and counterattack

On this basis, the first concrete move is therefore made by Epic Games, which decides to use its own payment method with the aim of bypassing the payment systems set up by Apple, a trick useful to avoid the application of the commissions mentioned above.

As expected, the response of the US giant was not long in coming: Apple promptly removed Fortnite from its Store, complaining of a clear and manifest violation of contractual agreements previously stipulated.

At this point Epic Games has moved the matter to the appropriate legal venues, filing a lawsuit against Apple in the courts of the State of California, sign thus went the first step towards a long and agitated legal battle.

The accusations of Epic Games concern the alleged anticompetitive behavior of Apple, which would exercise its power in a way that is detrimental to all the realities that, in various ways, they come into contact with it. In support of its thesis, the development house has resorted to a rather dated regulatory source of the US legal system: the Sherman Act, dating back to 1890.

The Sherman Act is considered one of the bulwarks of antitrust law, since it constitutes one of the first attempts to define legislation at the legislative level aimed at limiting behaviors that could interfere with the normal functioning of the market, based on free competition.

The #freefortnite campaign

current situation, therefore, sees Fortnite out of the iOS digital platform and its users unable to install any updates planned for the video game.

For this reason, in addition to having started the legal process, Epic Games, in parallel, has given I start a campaign in favor of my own "creature" within the game itself, synthesized and known as #freefortnite. The intent of this campaign, in addition to the attempt to raise attention on the issue as much as possible, thanks to the help of the video game users, was to obtain the suspension of the block imposed by Apple on purchases on its stores, until it intervenes a definitive sentence on the matter.

Unfortunately for Epic Games, however, the hearing held on 28 September last did not meet his expectations and did not result in the acceptance of this claim.

Indeed, the judge expressed some perplexity regarding the behavior adopted by Epic Games, even defining it dishonest and declaring that "it was Epic Games itself that strategically chose to break the agreements with Apple".

For the moment, therefore, the only victory, if it can be defined as such, for Epic Games is represented by the possibility of continuing to use the Apple platforms for all the other video games created using the Unreal Engin graphics engine and, not integrating the violation of the contractual agreements under discussion, given the absence in these cases of alternative payment systems.


The conflict between Epic Games and Apple is not resolved in a mere diatribe between the two parties in question, but takes on a much wider significance.

As specified by judge Yvonne Gonzales Rogers, the royalty envisaged by Apple does not differ from that envisaged from the online stores of Microsoft, Sony and Nintendo.

And precisely on this point the argument put forward by Apple has focused, which, for its part, accuses Epic Games of having requested, in confidence, more favorable conditions for itself at the expense of other realities, such as, for example, Microsoft.

Unexpectedly, however, it will be the latter to support Epic Games in its legal battle, exposing itself on the issue in August 2020, and openly asking Apple about sopr besiege the block placed on the iOS system against products developed thanks to the Unreal Engine, belonging to the development house in question. Although the deployment by Microsoft may initially seem ambiguous, the interests underlying this choice are actually clear: the aforementioned block would represent a limit for all products developed thanks to the Unreal Engine, so it would affect not only Epic Games, but Microsoft itself. In light of the recent developments, Microsoft can breathe a sigh of relief, which unfortunately cannot be said yet for Epic Games and its Fortnite.


The hearing of last September 28, as seen above, certainly marked a turning point for the development of this controversy, although still far from seeing an end.

We will see how the process will proceed in the light of the next hearing, scheduled for May 3, 2021, but also of the preliminary meeting between the parties set for April 21, 2021 which will precede the "judicial" one.

The interests at stake are multiple and heterogeneous, as are the variables that may affect the determination of the dispute in question. The fact remains that in this, as in many other cases that have come to the fore in recent decades, the protagonists are increasingly digital giants, and as often happens, the reasons underlying the "clashes" are to be found in conflicts of nature economic and power. To know who will be the winner and who will have to wait, with the hope that the millions of users and fans of Fortnite will soon be able to use it again with iOS, putting an end to a "cold war" in this case real, not virtual.

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