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Epic Games admits its own developer agreements ban rule-breakers

Credit: Epic Games

Last updated

Epic Games doesn't tolerate rule-breakers on its platforms, Apple argued in the Epic v. Apple trial, drawing parallels to the actions that led to "Fortnite" being removed from the App Store.

Epic Games Technical Director Andrew Grant was on the stand Wednesday, explaining why a game like "Fortnite" couldn't be delivered as a web application.

During his testimony, however, Apple's lawyers began a line of questioning to establish that, much like Apple, Epic has developer agreements within Unreal Engine and actively enforces rules on games like "Fortnite."

For example, Apple's lawyers asked Grant whether people who cheat within "Fortnite" can be permanently banned. Grant answered yes, according to an account from The Verge reporter Adi Robertson.

The lawyer continued, asking Grant whether Epic's brand was dependent on people having a good experience within "Fortnite" and that everyone is "on the same level playing field."

"If the integrity of the game falls apart, and people believe the rules no longer apply to them, then people may no longer be inclined to play the game," Apple's lawyers continued, claiming that this could lead to a "downward spiral" of the platform.

Without directly stating it, Apple is drawing comparisons to Epic's move that led to the removal of "Fortnite" from the App Store. Epic Games in a hot fix patch implemented a direct payment system that bypassed Apple's in-app purchases platform. That was a clear violation of Apple's developer guidelines.

At another point, Apple's lawyers characterized Epic Games implementing its secretive hot fix as "dishonest" and "acting without integrity." Grant responded by saying he doesn't know what to do with that characterization.

Earlier in the day, lawyers for Apple and Epic argued about the differences and similarities between iPhone and game consoles. Apple issued a warning to the likes of Sony, Microsoft and Nintendo in its opening statement, saying that a ruling against iOS could precipitate similar action against platforms like PlayStation and Xbox.

Epic called on Lori Wright, Microsoft's head of Xbox business development, to the stand to argue that consoles are highly specialized devices purpose-built for gaming, while iPhone is more of a general purpose product. Epic hammered home the fact that console makers need to appease developers because they sell hardware at a loss, unlike Apple.

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