Apple: Epic threatened to abandon iOS if we didn’t cave to ‘Fortnite’ demands

Recent Apple filings reveal the immense behind-the-scenes support Apple provided to Fortnite-maker Epic Games over the last two years.

Epic Games' Fortnite
Epic Games’ Fortnite

Yoni Heisler for BGR:

A court filing from Mark Grimm — a Game Developer Manager at Apple — highlights the lengths to which Apple bent over backward to accommodate Epic Games in recent years… As detailed by Grimm, Apple and Epic engineers over the past two years remained in “near-constant contact” to ensure that Fortnite could run optimally at all times and across a variety of devices. Grim notes that Apple provided Epic with a substantial amount of engineering support to “reduce Fortnite’s memory footprint” which allowed it to run on older iPhone models.

A separate filing from Mike Schmid, Apple’s Head of Games Business Development, sheds even more light on some of the behind the scenes assistance Apple provided to Epic Games over the years.

One particularly interesting tidbit from Schmid is that Epic would routinely threaten to release Fortnite updates on competing platforms first if Apple didn’t “accommodate their requests.” Schmid also said Epic on a number of occasions threatened to “terminate its relationship with Apple and remove its games” from the App Store if Apple didn’t comply with the company’s demands.

Schmid further details that Apple was so committed to meeting Epic’s demands and needs that it adjusted its Epic relationship team as to provide the company with around the clock support.

MacDailyNews Take: As we’ve said from the very beginning: “Epic Games wants all of the benefits afforded to it by Apple’s App Store for free.”


  1. Just from these articles, sure, Epic behaves like an overly-greedy, rude, uncouth, self-entitled radical Capitalist; Selfishly acquisitive at nearly all costs.

    1. So just like Apple then?

      Apple didn’t stash billions of dollars overseas by being a nice little computer maker. It’s the richest fscking corporation on the face of the planet.
      It doesn’t pretend to keep its economic power circulating in the USA or in the communities it operates. Tim tosses pocket lint to social causes while lining his own pockets with billions. MDN whines about this while forgiving the self serving corruption of its political friends who do worse. Both camps are deceitful.

      Apple uses Chinese communist labor, it hands its executives extreme wealth while its employees can barely afford housing near the prime real estate Apple office/edifices. It ignores shareholder inputs. It squashes competition it doesn’t like and it produces happy feelgood promotional messages to tell everyone that supporting the Apple subscription model is better than any other subscription model Nobody can explain what makes Apple rental music better than Spotify, but the paid fanboys can’t stop telling you all about it. The keis that for Spotify to sell an app, it gives its code to Apple, nice and easy for Apple to copy. Small innovator toils, Apple the Monopolist copies and profits.

      Modern feudalism – not democratic. Better than the xenophobe trumpian message but still economic slavery with a pretty wrapper.

      Yet here, decades after Apple stopped being the pro-user underdog, Apple is perceived as a white knight while underdog Epic is somehow being evil. Apple runs its App Store with more monopolistic greed than Microsoft did in at its height of Windows power. With PCs and Macs, the user had control. With iOS, Apple is the Big Brother that Orwell warned us about. If you don’t believe it, then explain why billionaires are falling over themselves to own the social media apps on every phone, whether they appear to make money or not? Tracking and propaganda is control. The US govt isn’t even close to being the worst offender. Big Tech and foreign entities (oligarchs from every country working together outside any modern law) are the worst offenders. Apple has done nothing to protect you, unless you’re so drunk on Tim’s koolaid that you think the automated app store review is effective at banning user tracking.

      1. Apple is NO white knight. However, that doesn’t mean that Epic isn’t still being evil. Apple could be providing puppies for Tim to kick from a spaceship window each morning and it wouldn’t change the fact that Epic is being evil.

        1. Thank god somebody said it!

          History lesson; It’s a dog-eat-dog world (and it’s similar incorrect variants), in fact, echo an earlier proverb that comes all the way from the roman empire and it’s now dead language Latin. That proverb, which is less commonly used than it’s canine friend, is ‘dog does not eat dog’ which comes from the Latin grammarian Varro’s canis caninam non est3, literally ‘dog dog’s flesh not eats’.

  2. Epic should abandon iOS if they are not willing to abide by Apple’s demands. The store belongs to Apple. If you are unwilling to pay up… get out. Yes, Apple’s fee is ridiculous. I could see 1% to 5% but 30%? It’s robbery.

    Yes, it is a monopoly of a sort. You can’t sell your iOS products through any other venue. Apple has sewn this shit up quite nicely for themselves.

    Bottom line, it’s Apple’s store, it IS an unfriendly environment for developers, so develop for Android.

    Seems to me it’s a matter of…

    Don’t develop for Apple or
    Charge a premium for the product on iOS (which Apple won’t mind), or
    Sell stuff directly on your own website.
    Get with a bunch of other developers and boycott Apple.

    This is the big reason, from what I’ve read that there is no World of Warcraft for mobile.

      1. That is typical in every consolidated market. Retailers with match prices as high as possible, because they know users have no other choice. Only when a new market entry arrives are price ratchets challenged. But entrenched players will ensure that new market players can’t get established. See all the whining about Microsoft from 20 years ago. Now its Apple using its golden corral to stop any upstarts from daring to profit more than they do.

        1. Can you calculate what is the exact cost of maintaining the iOS ecosystem? I think nobody, except from people at Apple themselves, can. We honestly have no idea, and whoever is stating otherwise, they are more than welcome to present evidence for this. 30% might be a lot. Or might be a little too much. Or maybe some developers are just paying the price of free apps (I wonder where Apple does make money with the Netflix App, for example. Maybe they do, I just don’t know how). Using some good guess logic, I would say that maybe Apple could lower that fee, but -again- I have no evidence to support this. But this is not even the point: the point is that Epic agreed to a contract. They entered the AppleStore. Now they want to play according to their rules. Only imagine Apple suddenly say: ok, now developers who signed in to get 70% revenue will get 50%. There would be a nuclear war or something…

      2. So what is the middle man fee for your Mac apps purchased directly from whatever developer the user chooses?

        Now you know the real reason Apple is so fat dumb and lazy now compared to when Jobs actually cared about user choice and experience.

        1. “So what is the middle man fee for your Mac apps purchased directly from whatever developer the user chooses?”

          Why would I know? And anyway this is not even the point of the conversation.

          So Jobs would have done differently? How can you know for sure? If it were for Jobs there would have been no app store. And, about the user experience “when Jobs”, remember a thing called mobileMe?

          1. The correct answer is zero. You don’t have to pay a 30% Apple stocking fee for apps on the Mac store because, as you should know, the Mac is a user and developer friendly platform that allows competition in app sales.

            iOS on the other hand is an artificially restrained market that unfairly restricts the user. Apple sets a high markup and puts developers in a no-win position. If any software developer creates a successful program, Apple can copy it and undercut the price, stop promoting the competition, or find any reason to toss the app out of the store. Monopoly power.

            If Apple rented iOS devices, that would be one thing. But since they sell the hardware, they have no legitimate right to interfere in any transactions between the hardware owner and the developer he wants to do business with directly. To do so is anticompetitive behavior.

            But you knew that.

            I thought the MDN righties used to believe in competitive free markets. Now you’re simply pawns for multinational corporate feudal overlords.

            1. “but you knew that”. You’re almost cute: you are basically asking me to agree on a statement without any proof. You cannot know the cost of maintaining the AppleStore, because you have no idea what the servers cost, people reviewing the software that is submitted, cost for providing the software to develop the apps, etc.
              They host the software in house, it’s normal that they charge for it. And monopoly? THere’s google, microsoft, nintendo. They do the same.
              So, no I don’t know that, and neither do you.

        2. “Jobs actually cared about user choice and experience.”
          Jobs cared about experience, he never really cared for choice. It was his way or the highway. You don’t like his direction for Final Cut Pro? Tough.

          He didn’t like the expansion cards (which provides choice) in the Apple II and made sure none of that made it into the Mac. The Mac II wouldn’t have been a thing if Steve hadn’t left Apple by then (he left in 85, it was introduced in 87). And, what did he focus on upon his return? The iMac, the initial version of which had a diagnostic port which was quickly removed.

        3. Explain technically, business wise, idea-wise and other wise why Apple is so fat dumb and lazy now compared to the past. It is a different company for certain, but you choose words that sound great but mean little.

    1. Who are you to define the boundary for “robbery”? Have you ever considered what game producers used to pay to package and deliver their products? They provided the products at a wholesale price to retailers. The retailers then marked them up. The retailers also took care of Inventory and point of sale and returns and such.

      If you want to feel better, then take the current price of Fortnite and deduct 30%. That is the wholesale price from Fortnite to Apple for each unit sold. Apple is the marking up the product by 30% to cover operations, marketing, etc. for the App Store, game developer support, developer tools, etc. If you like, you can consider some of that 30% to cover part of the iOS research and development costs, since Apple provides iOS for free.

      I am not saying that Apple is a saint. But I am tired of people thinking that Apple should be screwed over because it has accumulated wealth. Why should Fortnite deserve special treatment?

      I hear all of this uproar about Apple and the App Store. But what is going on with Android and its app distribution? Perhaps a little more balanced scrutiny for once? Or is it really only about money and not fairness?

      1. Yeah, John Dingler (f)art is regularly sold on the black market for pennies on the dollar. Heck, sometimes it is given away just to get rid of it. Homeless people in LA burn it to stay warm in the winter and lick the paint to ward off the bubonic plague. It’s tough stuff. It isn’t art though. It’s (f)art, of the most odorous quality. Strip paint off walls, it will. Al Gore’s favourite. It’s what Eric Schmidt has in his bathroom so he can more easily take a dump.

  3. APPLE DEVELOP YOUR OWN GAME ENGINE! Epic games is the technological equivalent of a terrorist/bully/drug dealer, take your pick. Apple here’s my advice:
    1. Create your own game engine.
    2. Make it available as part of your current developer membership $98.99 annually.
    3. Tell Epic to suck a big one.

      1. I downvote for poor punctuation (how many dollars????) and insanely myopic view of the power of apple software ecosystem, the dev license is more software than a $99 USD Microsoft developers account, and actually gives you access to mobile customers (unlike the MS hundred bucks), so there is a DUH! factor in the choice for EPIC or any other developer. Logo or not, ultimately, it’s eyes the developers are paying for, and the Apple developer software facilitates the individual developer of apps intention to reach the most mobile eyes with the least of effort, compared to most platforms

  4. Apple just needs to let users “side load” apps via a stand along application on IOS or Mac (not necessarily both. Make it simple, with minimal overhead and support needs and this all disappears. OF COURSE some iPhones will become swamped with crap as users are dumb and will download all sorts of crapola they think is “free” or “stolen” but its clearly the only way to clear this mess up.

    1. Upgraded to 14 on iPad Pro 12.9, and iPhone 11 pro, passwords and Apple Pay working as usual.

      No problems, Apple however should drop Epic and move on, this one time Tim should pull a (Flash) Steve Jobs get rid of them…

      Also I do not like Apple Music 14, I just want to playback my Music with EQ and playlist I don’t want social, streaming, DJ’s talking or tracking.

  5. At the end of the day Apple has created a product, and secured that product as much as possible by routing applications that can be downloaded via its App Store.

    Apple provide this at a cost, which everyone; both developer and user are aware of, and agree with, in order to use their products.

    It’s not like any of this is a surprise. So developers should continue to agree with the contracts they signed, and users should continue to use the device, with no additional expectations. If the device breaks, then it should be covered by warranties.

    If it doesn’t perform in the way that a user ‘thinks’ it should, then you should buy another device which does.

    In the end you get what you pay for. If you’re not happy – go elsewhere, but don’t try to be churlish about it when you want to change things (that you had previously agreed too) just so that it makes it more in your favour.

Reader Feedback

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.