The judge considers that Epic deliberately and strategically violated the conditions of its contract as a developer
The preliminary view of the lawsuit that will face Apple and Epic for the conditions that the first imposes on its AppStore application store has left a bittersweet taste in the mouth of both companies.
Epic had asked the judge who will be in charge of trying the case, Yvonne González Rogers, to force Apple to restore the Fortnite application in the iOS application store and protect the Epic developer account to prevent the closure from also affecting the Unreal Engine, a popular game creation tool developed by the same company and used by third parties.
González Rogers has finally decided that Apple will not have to accept the Fortnite game in its application store for the duration of the trial. It considers that Epic deliberately and strategically violated the conditions of its contract as a developer by including in its application a virtual currency purchasing system that avoided using Apple’s servers (and therefore the 30% commission that the company charges on all transactions made within apps).
On the other hand, and given that the disappearance of support for Unreal Engine may have consequences for third-party developers, González Rogers has forced Apple not to disable Epic’s developer account . This was one of the most effective lobbying tools in Apple’s arsenal to try to force the hand of the video game developer before having a sentence. “Epic Games and Apple have the freedom to litigate each other, but their dispute should not cause havoc to third parties,” the judge explained.
Apple had threatened Epic with disabling the account this week, a decision that could have had a serious impact on support for the Unreal Engine, a well-known engine that allows third parties to develop highly advanced games without having to program all the elements of it.
Although games created with the engine would not have stopped working, the lack of support would have discouraged many developers from considering Unreal Engine as a valid alternative for development. Given that the trial is likely to extend through 2021 any other decision would have had dire consequences for Epic.
Both Apple and Google have decided to remove the Fortnite application from their application stores following Epic’s decision to include its own payment system within the app.
The company that created the popular game (one of the most played in the world) decided to launch this payment system on August 14 as part of an update to the Fortnite client on mobile platforms. Epic, however, has not altered the virtual currency purchase system in the versions that are distributed through the console, and that are subject to similar commissions.
According to documents submitted for the preview, revenue generated through iPhones and iPads accounts for 12% of the total money Epic makes from Fortnite.