Judge says Apple won’t be forced to restore Fortnite, but can’t restrict Unreal Engine

The judge notes that Epic 'strategically chose to breach its agreements with Apple'

Fortnite on iOS

A U.S. district court judge has ruled that Apple can’t terminate Epic Games’ developer accounts or block its ability to provide the Unreal Engine on Apple platforms.

However, the judge also ruled that Apple will not be forced to bring Fortnite back to the App Store. Apple removed the popular game from its App Store after Epic dodged its 30 percent fees with a new direct payment system

The judge has ruled that the tech giant can’t restrict developers on Apple platforms from accessing the Unreal Engine tools. For context, the Unreal Engine is a set of technologies that provide a framework for creating three-dimensional graphics. Companies obtain a license from Epic to use the technology for a fee.

“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,” the judge wrote.

Further, the judge notes that Epic “strategically chose to breach its agreements with Apple.” However, the judge also outlines that Apple’s decision to impact third-party app developers by threatening access to the Unreal Engine shows that it “has chosen to act severely.”

“Epic Games and Apple are at liberty to litigate against each other, but their dispute should not create havoc to bystanders,” the judge stated.

Epic previously stated that Apple was planning to block its developer accounts on August 28th. The judge agreed with Epic that there would be significant damage to the Unreal Engine platform itself and to the gaming industry.

Further, the judge noted that it would be difficult for Apple to argue that Epic wouldn’t be harmed if developers abandoned their projects because they can use the Unreal Engine on Apple platforms.

It’s important to note that this first ruling is meant to be limited in scope so that the court can hear more informed arguments regarding a preliminary injunction, which would determine if Apple can take action against Fortnite and the Unreal Engine.

A full hearing on the injunction will take place on September 28th.

Via: The Verge