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Judge wants to protect Unreal Engine, but Fortnite won’t return to App Store
August 26, 2020
Justice rules in favour of keeping the Unreal Engine at Apple
In the first hearing of the epic Games and Apple litigation, a remote meeting held yesterday on Zoom software because of health measures, Judge Yvonne Gonzalez Rogers ruled in favor of protecting the Unreal Engine at Apple, but did not question Fortnite’s banning from the App Store.
“I can tell you right now that I am not inclined to grant a remedy with respect to the games, but I am inclined to grant a remedy with respect to the Unreal Engine,”said the judge. These provisions will initially take the form of a temporary restraining order before a final verdict can only take place later. For Justice Rogers, and as Apple has already pointed out, it is up to Epic Games to comply with the rules of the App Store for Fortnite to make a comeback. “Frommy point of view, you cannot suffer irreparable harm when you are inflicted on you,”the magistrate said.
As things stand, the judge’s impressions confirm that Fortnite has every chance of not returning to iOS. The royal battle will no longer be updated on this platform and will miss the release of the next season scheduled this Thursday, August 27. For now, therefore, the court recognizes Apple’s right not to tolerate the Epic Games initiative which, by introducing an alternative payment method, allowed players to bypass the 30% commission that Apple imposes on each transaction of The App Store games, and thus to pay their cheaper V-bucks.
Avoid collateral damage in developers
On the other hand, the court intends to prevent Apple from prolonging its retaliation by revocing Epic Games developer accounts, or at least to ensure that Epic Games remains able to keep the Unreal Engine up to date and work smoothly for developers of iOS and MacOS games. This is great news for developers who have simply been held hostage by this political and economic conflict between Apple and Epic Games, in which a certain Microsoft has recently come to take a stand in favour of the latter (and its own studios, many of which use Unreal Engine technology).
Apple’s lawyers felt it was customary to sever all ties with a company when it did not comply with App Store protocol. However, the judge understood that banning the Unreal Engine in addition to Fortnite would be too harsh a move that would affect not only Epic Games but many other developers. “EpicGames and Apple are free to argue against each other, but their dispute should not wreak havoc on viewers,”she said, noting that maintaining the Unreal Engine will not harm Apple. A new hearing will be held on September 28, during which Epic Games lawyers will try to argue against Apple’s practices, which its critics say are anti-competitive.