U.S. District Court Judge Yvonne Gonzalez Rogers just denied Epic Games’ motion to restore the game Fortnite on the Apple App Store Monday evening. However, Apple is still ordered to not retaliate against Epic Games for breaking the developer agreement by blocking its Unreal Engine software that might hurt other developers.
Judge Rogers says, “The record shows potential significant damage to both the Unreal Engine platform itself, and to the gaming industry generally, including on both third-party developers and gamers.”
Epic Games’ lawsuit also went a step further and asked for Apple to be required to allow third-party app stores to be developer and compete with its own app stores. Along with that, Epic Games also requested the court to push Apple to allow third-party purchase systems apart from its own in-app purchases.
“Epic Games and Apple are at liberty to litigate against each other, but their dispute should not create havoc to bystanders,” Rogers wrote.
She had also previously hinted at the now official ruling previously on Monday, when she said, “I am not inclined to grant relief with respect to the games, but I am inclined to grant relief with respect to the Unreal Engine.” The concern was that the dispute between Apple and Epic Games should not cause any harm to the thousands of other developers that use Unreal Engine to develop and distribute game software.
In the coming weeks, Apple and Epic Games are expected to file their arguments before the full hearing that has been scheduled for September 28. The court is still undecided on when the trial will begin, with Epic suggesting they could be prepared within four to six months and Apple suggesting a longer ten month period.
It is clear, however, that it may take up to a year or more to see a concrete judgement on the issue. This trial is also a very important one, as it could set a precedent for many more anti-trust laws for Apple and its developers.
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