The announcement ensures that Fortnite fans on Apple devices can’t download the newest season of the game this month. Yet, the court gave the game developer a more substantial respite. The decision could have significant implications throughout the interactive gaming business. The injunction addressed the concern over the gaming industry’s future.
Apple shouldn’t block Epic, ruling says
According to a temporary restraining order issued by Judge Yvonne González Rogers, Apple must not block Unreal Engine. It’s a major game development software suite owned by Epic from its app store. The iPhone maker agreed with Judge Rogers’ decision.
In a statement Tuesday, Apple underscored that Epic itself could only resolve Fortnite’s ban. “[The] sensible way to proceed’ is for Epic to comply with the App Store guidelines and continue to operate while the case proceeds,” Apple said. “If Epic takes the steps the judge has recommended, we will gladly welcome [the game] back onto iOS. We look forward to making our case to the court in September.”
Unreal Engine is a tool that creates build computer-generated graphic and ultra-realistic scenes. It has played a central role in video games, including Fortnite and Battlegrounds by PlayerUnknown. It has provided the backdrops in TV shows like “The Mandalorian” by Disney.
Banning developers could cause more harm
Apple told Epic to “suspend” its right to distribute the Unreal Engine software on the app store. If Apple pursued its plan, Epic said developers and others may struggle in making applications on Apple devices. Epic submitted a sworn statement. It claimed that Apple’s plan “will harm game creators and gamers.” The prosecutor agreed to bolster its case on Monday.
Unless Apple enforced the Epic’s injunction, it would result in “potential serious harm both to the [developer] itself and to the games community in general,” Gonzalez Rogers concluded. “Epic Games and Apple are entitled to bring lawsuits against each other,” the ruling said. The Fortnite-Apple battle does not cause mayhem for the spectators, Gonzalez Rogers added.
The order falls in the wake of Epic’s broader legal argument. The developer pointed out Apple’s custom of taking a 30 percent break in-app sales. The iPhone maker blacklisted non-compliant developers infringes on everyone’s monopoly regulations. The suit became a potential landmark case for enforcing antitrust. The lawsuit could serve as a possible turning point for the broader digital economy that runs on app stores.
Gonzalez Rogers said Epic could face a complicated challenge winning her case on merits. She admitted that there are “serious questions” about Apple’s business model. She added the attempt by Apple to ban Unreal Engine would have had ripple effects throughout the video game industry.
Is the ban really necessary?
Gonzalez Rogers raised serious doubts about Apple App Store’s ban and its effects on the competition. She asked whether the move was necessary.
“The problem is, if you have an iPhone, you can’t buy [apps] from anyone else,” she said. “You can’t. You are limited to buying it from Apple. I can’t buy it from Google. I can’t buy it from Amazon. There is no competition. And so the question is, without competition, where does that 30 percent [figure] come from — why isn’t it 10, 15, 20?”
Apple said customers enjoy a lot of competition in the mobile ecosystem sector. The tech giant noted the competition between iOS and Android.
This year, criticism regarding Apple’s app store has increased exponentially. Mobile developers and competition experts in Congress and Europe have zeroed in on the company’s app store practices.
Apple has insisted that its practices are market standard and aim to provide users with a reliable and stable user interface. Critics say Apple’s 30 percent charge and demand that all in-app purchases be processed via Apple’s payment chill competition platforms.