Are you tired of hearing about Apple versus Epic yet? Too bad. In the first major development of Epic’s court battle against Apple, a California District Court judge ruled that while Apple can boot Fortnite from the App Store for violation of its policies, it can’t do the same to Epic’s developer tools supporting the popular Unreal Engine.
To briefly summarize: Epic updated the massively popular Fortnite game on iOS and Android to allow direct in-app purchase payments, skirting around Apple and Google’s payment systems and their 30% cut. This violated the terms of service for both stores, so Fortnite was quickly kicked off both. Epic immediately sued both Apple and Google, and launched a social media campaign of questionable taste to try and get players on their side in this argument over who gets to keep more of the money spent on fake money for Fortnite skins. Exhausting.
In further developments, Apple threatened to revoke Epic’s access not just to Fortnite, but to the Unreal Engine for iOS as well, cutting off support from game developers who use it for their iOS titles. Microsoft filed a motion in support of Epic on this point, but not on the Fortnite in-app purchase kerfuffle in general…no doubt wary of anyone setting sights on its own cut of Xbox games and in-app purchases, including Fortnite.
News of Apple’s limited scope of retaliation comes as a result of Epic’s temporary restraining order pending the outcome of the civil lawsuit, so it isn’t definitive. Apple and Epic are still going to trade legal blows over the next six to twelve months. (At least.) But it does mean that game developers who rely on Epic’s support of the Unreal game engine can rest easy, knowing that Apple’s threat to revoke access to the tool their games are based on will go unfulfilled for the present.
Notably, the lawsuit Epic filed against Google doesn’t appear to be moving forward, or at least not as rapidly.