Epic Games Fortnite creator denounces Apple ban that will stop them from making apps for iOS and Mac, and warns that this would pose big problems for other developers
The legal battle between Apple and Fortnite creator Epic Games had a new setback on Monday. Epic has filed a request for precautionary measures against Apple's decision to withdraw the popular video game from its App Store, the App Store.
If the court accepts the request, Apple may not "remove, remove, hide, or cause the Fortnite app or any of its updates to become unavailable" in that App Store.
In short: Fortnite would return to the App Store and Apple would not be able to block new video game updates.
Epic's application reveals the potential impact this legal battle can have. Epic will lose access to Apple's Developer Program on August 28, it has explained, if it does not comply with the App Store Terms of Service. This would mean that all Epic apps in the App Store could be removed from the platform. Epic responds that being banned from such a program will mean not being able to access Apple's technology for developers.
Beyond Fortnite, Epic also develops the suite of Unreal Engine programs, a graphics engine used to create video games, including the smartphone version of PlayerUnknown's Battlegrounds, another popular multiplayer title.
Without access to this technology for Apple developers, Epic assures that it will not be able to send updates to its graphics engine, the Unreal Engine, on iOS or Mac. This means that any developer using this engine will not be able to access its updates in the development of their games, so many titles will not be able to be compatible with the next versions of iOS or MacOS.
Epic Games Fortnite creator denounces Apple ban
In his resource, Epic CEO Tim Sweeney indicates that this will cause big problems for Unreal Engine users, who would have to face the huge challenge of re-adapting their games for iOS and Mac. A challenge also for Epic, which would also discontinue its Unreal support on Apple's platforms.
Fortnite was removed from Apple's App Store and Google's Play Store late last week, after an update with the Epic title allowing players to skip the payment methods of the two techs. Instead of buying the game currency —known as turkeys— through Apple and Google methods, users could buy it directly from Epic at a 30% discount.
In response, the two big tech companies removed Fortnite from their respective digital stores.
Epic Games, which already had everything ready, responded by spreading its complaint. He also published a parody based on the Fortnite World of the famous apple ad that shot Ridley Scott, 1984.
Late Monday, an Apple spokesman reacted to Epic's appeal. In statements to the media, this spokesman assured:
"The App Store is designed to be a safe and trusted place for users, and with great business opportunities for all developers. Epic has been one of the most successful developers of the App Store, growing into a billion-dollar business that reaches millions of iOS customers around the world, " he says. "We want to keep the company as part of Apple's Developer Program and keep its apps on the App Store. The problem that Epic has created can be easily remedied if they update their app to re-comply with the terms of service they accepted and that apply to all developers. We will make no exceptions with Epic because we do not believe it is right to put your business interests above the guidelines that protect our customers."
End of Epic Games Fortnite creator denounces Apple ban
A car-sized asteroid flew 3,000 kilometers from Earth last weekend: not even NASA detected in time the closest approach ever recorded
A car-sized asteroid flew nearly 3,000 kilometers from Earth last Sunday.
It is a remarkably close approach, the closest ever recorded, according to asteroid trackers and a catalogue compiled by the Sormano Astronomical Observatory in Italy.
Because of its size, the space rock probably would not have posed any danger to people on the ground if it had hit the planet. However, the close call is worrying, as astronomers had no idea that the asteroid existed until after its passage.
"The asteroid approached undetected from the direction of the Sun," Paul Chodas, director of NASA's Center for Near-Earth Object Studies, told Business Insider. "We didn't see it coming."
Instead, The Palomar Observatory in California first detected the space rock about 6 hours after it flew over the Earth.
Chodas has confirmed the record nature of the event: "yesterday's close approach is the closest on record, if you rule out some known asteroids that have actually impacted our planet," he said.
NASA knows only a fraction of Near-Earth objects (NEO) like this. Many do not cross the line of sight of any telescope, and several potentially dangerous asteroids have approached in recent years. If the wrong one slipped through the holes in our NEO surveillance systems, it could kill tens of thousands of people.
This recent near-Earth asteroid was initially called ZTF0DxQ, but now astronomers formally know it as 2020 HQ. Business Insider learned about the event thanks to Tony Dunn, the creator of the website orbitsimulator.com.
"The newly discovered asteroid ZTF0DxQ passed less than a quarter of Earth's diameter yesterday, making it the closest known overflight that hasn't hit our planet," tweeted Dunn. In addition, he shared the animation below.
The accelerated simulation shows the approximate orbital path of 2020 HQ as it advanced at a speed of approximately 12.4 kilometers per second or approximately 27,600 mph.
Early observations suggest that space rock flew over the southern hemisphere just after 4 a.m. world time (midnight ET) on Sunday.
The animation above shows HQ 2020 flying over the Southern Ocean near Antarctica. However, the Center for minor planets of the International Astronomical Union calculated a slightly different trajectory. The representation of the group (shown at the beginning of this story) suggests that the asteroid flew over the Pacific Ocean hundreds of kilometres east of Australia.
As far as space rocks are concerned, 2020 HQ was not too dangerous.
Observations from the telescope suggest that the object is between 2 and 5.5 meters wide, between the size of a small car and an extended cab van.
But even if it were at the largest end of that spectrum and made of dense iron (most asteroids are rocky), only small pieces of that asteroid would have reached the ground, according to the impact Earth simulator from Purdue University and Imperial College London.
Such an asteroid would have exploded in the atmosphere, creating a glowing fireball and unleashing an explosion in the air equivalent to detonating a couple of dozen kilotons of TNT.
That's about the same as one of the atomic bombs that the United States dropped on Japan in 1945. But the aerial explosion would have occurred about 3 or 4 kilometers above the ground, so it would not have sounded louder than the noise of daily traffic.
However, this does not make the discovery of the asteroid much less baffling: it does not take a large space rock to create a big problem.
In February 2013, an asteroid about 20 meters long exploded without warning over Chelyabinsk, Russia. That space rock created a superbolide event, triggering an explosion in the air equivalent to 500 kilotons of TNT, approximately 30 Hiroshima nuclear bombs in energy.
The explosion, which began about 20 kilometers from Earth, triggered an expansive wave that broke windows in 6 Russian cities and injured about 1,500 people.
And in July 2019, a 130-meter asteroid called 2019 OK passed 72,400 kilometers from Planet Earth, or whatever, less than 20% of the distance between the Earth and the Moon.
Astronomers detected that rock less than a week before its closest approach, leading a scientist to tell The Washington Post that the asteroid essentially appeared "out of nowhere."
In an unlikely direct impact on a city, such a rebellious space rock could kill tens of thousands of people.
NASA is actively scanning the skies for such threats, as Congress has demanded it since 2005. However, the agency is mandated to detect only 90% of "City killer" space rocks over 140 metres in diameter.
In May 2019, NASA said it had found less than half of the estimated 25,000 objects of that size or more. And, of course, that does not count the smallest rocks like the asteroids Chelyabinsk and 2019 OK.
"There's not much we can do to detect incoming asteroids coming in the direction of The Sun, as asteroids are detected using optical telescopes (like ZTF), and we can only look for them in the night sky," Chodas argued. "The idea is that we discover them in one of their previous passages around our planet, and then make predictions with years and decades in advance to see if they have any chance of impact."