It looks like Fortnite won’t be returning to iOS soon!
A US district judge declined to force Apple to return Fortnite to the App Store, but ordered Cupertino to keep the Unreal Engine alive on iOS and macOS.
Epic Games asked the court to issue a temporary restraining order against Apple that would require it to reinstate Fortnite and stop it from banning Epic’s Apple developer accounts. However, Judge Yvonne Gonzalez Rogers with the District Court for the Northern District of California blamed Epic Games for instigating the feud in the first place by adding a direct payment option in the game. This violated Apple's App Store rules and resulted in the takedown.
Epic Games made the “calculated decision” to breach its agreement with Apple, Rogers said, and should face the consequences. “The court finds that with respect to Epic Games’ motion as to its games, including Fortnite, Epic Games has not yet demonstrated irreparable harm. The current predicament appears of its own making,” she wrote in a Monday night ruling.
According to Rogers, Epic Games could easily get Fortnite back on the iOS App Store by removing the direct payment method from the game. It instead opted to let court decide.
“The Court recognizes based on the numerous internet postings and comments submitted in the record that Fortnite players are passionate supporters of the game, and eagerly anticipate its return to the iOS platform,” Rogers wrote in the ruling. However, she concluded access to Fortnite was outweighed by “general public interest in requiring private parties to adhere to their contractual agreements.”
Still, the judge sided with Epic Games on Unreal Engine, a platform used by millions of developers for game creation and 3D modeling. Because Fortnite broke the iOS App Store rules, Apple originally planned on terminating every developer account Epic Games controlled on the iOS and macOS platforms this Friday. If that occurred, Epic Games would have no way to support and distribute Unreal Engine to Apple products.
On Monday, Rogers issued a temporary restraining order against Apple that prevents it from terminating developer accounts dedicated to the Unreal Engine. She made the decision after Epic Games’ lawyer claimed developers were “fleeing” Unreal Engine over its uncertain fate.
“The record shows potential significant damage to both the Unreal Engine platform itself, and to the gaming industry generally, including on both third-party developers and gamers,” the judge wrote. “Epic Games and Apple are at liberty to litigate against each other, but their dispute should not create havoc to bystanders.”
The temporary restraining order will last until the judge decides whether to grant a longer-lasting preliminary injunction in the case. That’s where Epic Games would again argue for the court to restore Fortnite to the iOS App Store and keep its developer accounts alive for the Unreal Engine until the antitrust feud receives an actual ruling. The hearing for the preliminary injunction is scheduled for Sept. 28.
In the meantime, it looks like Fortnite won’t be returning to iOS for at least a month, unless Epic Games gives in and removes the direct payment option from the iOS version of the game.
News by Andy Rixon, created 26 Aug, 2020
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