A few days back, Fortnite publisher Epic Games introduced a direct payments policy to help players bypass the 30% commission for App Store & Play Store, leading to both Apple & Google removing the game from their respective stores. Epic sued both these companies in return, taking the battle to the U.S. courts. The story led even further with Apple stating that it will block Epic’s access to the Apple Developer Tools. However, a U.S. District Court Judge has given the first verdict of the Epic vs Apple case, and according to the latest ruling, Fortnite will still remain blocked on iOS.
What did the latest Epic vs Apple ruling conclude?
U.S. District Judge Yvonne Gonzalez Rogers has made a critical new ruling in the Epic vs Apple case and it is in favour of Epic Games’ developing tools such as the Unreal Engine and other key graphic technologies but not its flagship game, Fortnite. The developer tools were not held liable because they are under Epic’s subsidiary Epic Games International which has a separate license agreement with Apple, and those terms have not been breached. That means, Apple is now restrained from blocking Epic from Apple developer tools. This decision is also to protect other game firms (Ex: Microsoft) and developers who use Epic’s technology to improve their games, according to the official court document.
However, Fortnite, which violated the App Store payments policy, still remains blocked on iOS devices, at least till the next hearing scheduled on 28th September. Although the judge said that “serious questions do exist” regarding Apple’s 30% commission, but no expert would suggest for a 0% alternative. Epic itself doesn’t give away its services for free. Rogers recognized that Epic has taken a pre-planned and blistering campaign against Apple by breaching their payments policy. However, resolving the matter of Fornite being blocked on iOS would be done over the next hearings.
Past developments in the Epic vs Apple story
To provide a short backstory, it all started on 13th August when Apple and Google eliminated Fortnite from their app stores. However, Time Sweeney, the CEO of Epic Games has criticized both Google and Apple long ago for their not so fair store policies. According to Apple’s policy, most apps on their App Store must offer the billing through Apple only, while additionally paying 30% of the total revenue. When Epic Games started telling its customers it would offer a direct purchase for Fortnite items on a 20% discounted price, Apple quickly pulled the plug on the app and Google soon followed in their footsteps, removing it its Play app store.
Epic filed a lawsuit against both of them accusing of their policies which, according to them, make the apps anti-competitive, thereby cutting their chances to prosper. Soon after, Apple threatened Epic that it would prevent it from supplying the Unreal Engine, a software used by millions for developing 3D games and also remove its developer account. Epic stated how Apple was overdoing it, highlighting the antitrust issues which have been building up against Apple.
How do things stand as of now
Initially, Apple had blocked all of Epic Games’ tools and software cutting off the game developer’s ability to provide apps and technologies to millions which immediately caused Apple to face a huge backlash from other developers who had massive complaints against their app store policies, especially the revenue system. Epic’s developer tools are used by many gaming firms and developers and the company shared its fears of a snowball effect which could affect millions. Therefore, the new ruling comes as a great relief to big firms like Microsoft, third-party developers and other non-parties. Aside from Apple, Epic Games continues to be embroiled with Google. We’ll see in future what happens regarding that case.
However, you can still download Fortnite on Android from authentic sources without the Play Store. Reinstalling Fortnite on an iOS device where the game was previously installed is also possible, but you won’t receive any update to the game as of now.
What are your thought’s on the latest ruling in the Epic Games vs Apple case?