Things are moving at a rapid pace in the Epic vs Apple battle with regards to their App Store sales tactics. Not too long ago, Tim Sweeney, Epic Games CEO, contacted Apple via email to request Apple to reconsider allowing Epic Games to include their own Fortnite in-app store to circumvent Apple’s own. Apple fired back in a legal letter from staff counsel telling Epic Games in short, “No.” In response to Apple’s emphatic “no”, Epic Games with Sweeney at the head, took matters into their own hands and upload a version of Fortnite that included Epic’s own store which violated Apple’s developers’ terms of agreement. Apple in response, banned Fortnite from the App Store and attempted to revoke all of Epic’s developer accounts which means no further iOS development on the Unreal Engine used by many iOS games. That is until now…
In a preliminary hearing in an attempt to secure a restraining order, Epic Games has won half the battle. Since Epic Games maintains several different developer accounts, this also means that there are several terms of agreement contracts that were signed. Judge Yvonne Gonzalez Rogers ruled in favor of Epic Games regarding the Unreal Engine and other Epic entities citing potential collateral damage to “both the Unreal Engine platform itself, and to the gaming industry generally.” Apple’s severe response would jeopardize many smaller developers if they cut access to the Unreal Engine development for iOS and macOS.
Judge Yvonne Gonzalez Rogers also ruled in favor of Apple in that Epic “strategically chose to breach its agreements with Apple,” which is evidently clear from Sweeney’s emails to Apple. This means Fortnite will not be coming back to iOS devices until Epic removes the offending Epic in-app store.
Both parties will file their arguments in the next few weeks as we approach the next injunction hearing date of September 28th, which is well before this entire debacle goes to trial sometime next year. You can read the entire court document pertaining to the restraining order uploaded by the Verge here.
Do you agree with this temporary injunction? Should the Unreal Engine, which is used in many games and other non-gaming apps be protected? Let us know in the comments section below.