Apple Faces Contempt Plea from Epic Games for Alleged Non-Compliance with App Store Court Order

By Quincy Cahilig

Mar 13, 2024 09:10 PM EDT

Epic Games has petitioned a federal judge to hold Apple in contempt for failing to comply with a court order to open its App Store to external payment sources. 

The legal move follows Apple's approval of third-party applications in the U.S. with payment processing links on a developer website. Epic Games asserts that Apple has not fulfilled its commitment and is seeking a court directive for complete compliance, according to Bloomberg.

In January, Apple announced modifications to the U.S. App Store, allowing developers to include links to alternative payment methods. However, Epic Games, the developer of Fortnite, is dissatisfied with the changes, citing conditions related to linking to alternative payment options. as per a report from 9to5Mac.

These adjustments followed the US. Supreme Court's rejection of Apple's appeal in its legal dispute with Epic Games, which mandated Apple to ease anti-steering rules for developers. Despite this, Apple specified a commission for transactions through alternative payment platforms, 12% for App Store Small Business Program members and 27% for other applications.

Apple maintains that it is in full compliance with the specified requirements. 

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Attendees walk by the Epic Games booth at the 2019 GDC Game Developers Conference on March 20, 2019 in San Francisco, California. (Photo : Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)

Unreal Engine New Pricing Revealed

Separately, Epic Games is overhauling its Unreal Engine payment structure, introducing a $1,850 per-seat subscription fee for non-game developers. 

Effective with Unreal Engine version 5.4's release in late April, this replaces the royalty-based model for game developers, who will continue to pay a 5% royalty on products exceeding $1 million in lifetime gross revenue, as reported by The Verge.

The new Unreal Engine subscription fee applies to non-game developers, such as those creating linear content, infotainment systems, or immersive experiences like theme park rides that are not directly sold to customers. 

Exceptions include companies with annual gross revenue below $1 million, students, educators, and hobbyists. Companies developing Unreal Engine plug-ins can still access it for free, and Epic's revenue share is maintained through the Unreal Engine Marketplace. 

Epic offers the Unreal Engine, Twinmotion real-time visualization, and RealityCapture photogrammetry for $1,850 annually. Epic intends to integrate the two add-ons before putting them into the Unreal Engine by 2025, however, Twinmotion will cost $445 a year and RealityCapture $1,250. 

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