Epic rejects Apple claims that 'Fortnite' on iOS was dying

It also disputed many of Apple's other allegations.

CHRIS DELMAS/AFP via Getty Images

Epic is hitting back at Apple’s claims that the developer’s lawsuit was just an attempt to revitalize sagging interest in Fortnite on iOS. In a newly-filed reply to Apple in a preliminary injunction request to keep Fortnite in the app store, Epic rejected Apple’s assertion that there had been a 70 percent decline in “interest” for the game between October 2019 and July 2020. Apple was using Google search data, Epic said, and the number of daily active Fortnite players actually grew 39 percent over the same time frame.

The game creator also dismissed several other allegations. It denied Apple’s claims that removing Epic’s apps helped security and privacy, arguing that Apple hadn’t referenced a “single security issue” with Fortnite’s direct payment and in-game update systems. The app had used in-game updates “for years without objection,” Epic said.

The company further objected to Apple’s view that its in-app purchasing was essential to the App Store, noting that purchases for real-world products (like Amazon and Uber) didn’t have to use the same system. It refused Apple’s assertion that Epic “created the current situation,” maintaining that it was simply exercising its Supreme Court-backed power to reject “anti-competitive contractual conditions.”

There’s no guarantee the court will see things Epic’s way and force Apple to restore Fortnite until there’s a verdict in the lawsuit. However, the player numbers not only change the story, but give an idea as to how well Fortnite was faring on iOS. Epic appears to have made its risky move despite a surge of iOS gamers, not to spark a surge. Mind you, that also makes this more of a gamble. The longer Fortnite stays off the App Store, the greater the chance Epic loses that earlier momentum and the money that came with it.