Judge claps back at Epic Games, says Apple justified in banning Fortnite from the App Store
This isn’t good for Epic Games.
If you’ve been waiting to find out if Fortnite is coming back to the iPhone’s App Store, you’ll be waiting some more. That’s because Epic Games, Fortnite’s maker, had their temporary injunction against Apple denied on Friday. That decision keeps Fortnite off the App Store in iOS, iPadOS, and macOS, pending the Apple vs. Epic lawsuit’s eventual outcome.
That antitrust case could drag on for ages, as it’s still in the early stages of litigation and is likely to be tried in front of a jury, as is often the case for lawsuits of this stature. The only minor spark of joy for Epic at this point is that the judge let Unreal Engine, the game engine that Epic maintains and many game developers use in their mobile games, stay on the App Store.
The judge clarified that Epic Games breached their contract with Apple and that the game developer can’t claim they did it because of monopoly concerns. She went on to say the way Epic is stonewalling any attempts to work with Apple to resolve this situation underscores that Epic isn’t necessarily working in the interests of iOS users, as they claim.
A putative class action on behalf of all developers on these exact same issues was already in progress when Epic Games breached the agreements. […] Yet, Epic Games has never adequately explained its rush, other than its disdain for the situation. The current predicament is of its own making. […]
To assist, the Court even offered to require the 30% to be placed in escrow pending resolution of the trial which Epic Games flatly rejected. The refusal to do so suggests Epic Games is not principally concerned with iOS consumers, but rather, harbors other tactical moves. Epic Games admits that the technology exists to “fix” the problem by easily deactivating the “hotfix.”
The trial won’t be moving forward until next July at the earliest, presumably due to how the pandemic has affected the already strained court schedule. A date has not been set at this time, and we don’t know how long any trial will take once it does take place.
Expect Fortnite to not be on the App Store for at least another year, losing Epic Games an estimated $26 million each month. That’s one expensive mistake.
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