- Epic Games did not win its preliminary injunction in its antitrust against Apple, which would have forced Apple to allow Fortnite back on the iPhone, iPad and Mac.
- Fortnite is still unavailable on Apple devices, as the judge in charge of the case convicted Epic, citing the company’s fraudulent practices, intentional breach of contract and unwillingness to resolve an issue with its own creation.
- The referee stopped Apple from blocking the Unreal Engine, so the trial has not been a complete loss for the game developer.
Epic Games has received the decision we warned you about a few weeks ago. The judge leading the case against Apple denied Epic a temporary injunction that would have forced Apple to allow Fortnite back in the App Store. This means that owners of iPhone, iPad and Mac will have to look elsewhere to get the Fortnite solution, as the game will not return to Apple devices anytime soon. Epic and Apple̵
Gonzalez Rogers suggested during the injunction a few weeks ago that she was not inclined to side with Epic when it comes to Fortnite. She pointed out at the time that Epic lied in the business relationship with Apple. “You did something, you lied about it by omission, by not being present. That’s the security issue. That’s the security issue! “Gonzalez Rogers told Epic. “There are a lot of people in public who consider you heroes for what you did, but it’s still not honest.”
In court, Apple claimed that the App Store practices that Epic had violated were intended to protect users from security risks and malicious software. Epic in late August, activated a hidden feature in the Fortnite game that turned on a secondary payment option for users. Apple would never have approved the feature, which is why Epic did it behind Apple’s back. The move followed Apple’s refusal to allow Epic to use its own payment platform for Fortnite’s in-app purchases.
Epic designed a major PR stunt to turn players against Apple due to the expected Fortnite ban and at the same time sued Apple for anti-competitive practices. Although the antitrust case may have merit alone, this does not change the fact that Epic broke the contract. The PR campaign that followed included more lies from Epic as it tried to convince players that Fortnite is not available on the iPhone or iPad because of Apple.
On Friday, Gonzalez Rogers overturned his decision in the case, denying Epic’s preliminary request for a Fortnite injunction. Epic won the Unreal Engine part of the case, which mimics the verdict from the previous lawsuit between the two. Epic failed to save Fortnite on iPhone via a temporary curfew, but won over Unreal Engine.
The judge emphasized that Epic had broken a contract unilaterally and could not claim that it did so due to monopoly problems. Judge Rogers also said that Epic’s inability to demonstrate its willingness to work with Apple and the court to restore the game proves that Epic is not necessarily concerned about the well-being of iOS users:
Epic Games can not just break out “monopoly” to rewrite agreements that give one-sided advantage. The other identifiable grounds: damage to reputation and Fortnite gaming community may not constitute irreparable damage where such damage results from Epic Games’ own actions and its strategic decision to breach the agreements with Apple. While consumers are feeling the impact of this lawsuit, the fact remains: these are business disputes. An alleged class action lawsuit on behalf of all developers about the exact same issues was already underway when Epic Games broke the agreements. […] Yet Epic Games has never adequately explained its rush, other than its contempt for the situation. The current situation is of its own making. […]
To assist, the court even offered to demand that 30% be barred pending a settlement of the lawsuit that “Epic Games” rejected. The refusal to do so suggests the GamesEpic Games principle is not primarily concerned with iOS consumers, but rather has other tactical measures. PEpic Games admits that the technology exists to “fix” the problem by simply disabling the “hotfix.”
Judge Gonzalez Rogers said during the court hearing that the trial will be tried before a jury, which will not happen at any time until next July. A date has not been set, and it is unclear how long a trial will last. In other words, Fortnite will continue to be banned on the iPhone, iPad and Mac for at least a year after Apple removed Epic’s developer account that controls it.
Full ruling is available at this link.