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Fortnite users flee after getting caught in Apple dispute

September 8, 2020, 6:30 PM UTC

Since Apple confrontation with Epic Games kicked into high gear, the game maker has seen its Apple-based users plunge, Epic said in a legal filing on Friday.

Daily active users of Epic’s blockbuster battle-royale game Fortnite on Apple’s iOS operating system have declined by more than 60% since the tech giant removed the game from the Apple App Store, Epic said in the filing. More than 60% of Fortnite users on iOS access Fortnite only on Apple devices, the video-game company said.

“The harm to these users is meaningful,” the filing said. Epic also warned that Apple’s actions could cause its business “irreparable harm.”

The trouble erupted on Aug. 13, when Epic began offering customers a way to buy items directly through its Fortnite app, eliminating fees that go to Apple. The same day, Apple removed Fortnite from its store for violating its store guidelines. Epic then sued Apple, alleging monopolistic behavior.

Since Aug. 27, when Epic issued an update to the game that wasn’t available for Apple devices, “all iOS Fortnite users became stranded, unable to play the game with their friends and family who updated the game on non-iOS platforms,” the company said.

More than 116 million registered users have accessed Fortnite through iOS — more than through any other platform, Epic said in the filing.

A judge has set a Sept. 28 hearing on Epic’s request for an injunction. In the Friday filing, Epic asked the judged to block Apple from removing Fortnite from the app store in what it called “retaliation” for offering in-app purchases through its own marketplace.