Epic Games is still trying to get Apple to reinstate its Fortnite app on iOS devices. Late Friday, the gaming company filed a motion for a preliminary injunction against Apple’s blocking Fortnite on iPhones and iPads.
The injunction brief says that more than 116 million gamers have played Fortnite on iOS, making it the game’s biggest platform, larger than its player base on Nintendo Switch, Xbox, PlayStation, PC or Android.
Filed in the US District Court for the Northern District of California, the motion says, “all Epic seeks is for the Court to stop Apple from retaliating against Epic for daring to challenge Apple’s misconduct.”
In a Saturday statement to CNN Business, Epic said, “today we ask the Court to stop Apple from retaliating against Epic for daring to challenge Apple’s misconduct while our antitrust case proceeds.”
Fortnite has been blocked on iOS since August, when Epic introduced a new way for players to buy in-game currency directly without paying Apple or Google their customary 30% cut of revenue. This move violated both Apple and Google’s app store policies, the tech giants said, and Fortnite was pulled from both iOS and Android devices. Epic then sued both Apple and Google, accusing them of monopolistic practices.
In claiming that Apple monopolizes the distribution and purchase of iOS apps, Epic Games is “going to have to convince the judge that those are markets to begin with,” John Bergmayer, legal director of consumer rights group Public Knowledge, told CNN Business.
On Saturday, Apple referred CNN Business to its previous statement, saying, “the court recommended that Epic comply with the App Store guidelines while their case moves forward, guidelines they’ve followed for the past decade until they created this situation. Epic has refused.”
The statement continued: “We hope that we can work together again in the future, but unfortunately that is not possible today.”
The next hearing over the Apple lawsuit is scheduled for September 28. A judge ruled on August 24 that Apple must not block Epic’s development platform Unreal Engine, which many developers rely on to create games on Apple devices, but that Fortnite would not be reinstated.
That decision meant iOS gamers with Fortnite downloaded to their phones aren’t able to access the game’s latest updates that were released later in August.
While Apple has maintained that its policies are industry standard and meant to ensure a consistent and secure app experience for consumers, critics say Apple’s 30% fee and requirements that all in-app payments be run through Apple’s payment channels chill competition.
“I think (Epic winning the lawsuits) would be pretty good for the markets overall,” said Mitch Stoltz, senior staff attorney of the non-profit digital rights group Electronic Frontier Foundation. “You’d see more experimentation, you’d see more business models. You’d see more innovation.”