Following Epic Games’ banning of Apple’s Unreal Engine, the first hearing in the case filed against Apple was held. The judge defended Apple on Fortnite Mobile and Epic Games on Unreal Engine. The next session of the hearing, which has resulted in a preliminary decision, will be held on 28 September.
The video game industry was shaken last week when the trio of Epic Games, Google and Apple clashed. The process that started with Epic Games’ adding an in-app payment method to Fortnite Mobile and bypassing the payment tools of Google Play and App Store continued with the removal of Fortnite Mobile from the App Store and Google Play. Epic Games filed separate lawsuits against Apple and Google over these developments.
The developments in the past week are not limited to these. Epic Games announced in its statements on the subject that it prevented Google from collaborating with other technology manufacturers. Apple, on the other hand, has decided to close the developer account of Epic Games as a new move. Moreover, this situation also affected Epic Games’ game engine Unreal Engine, and therefore third-party developers were also affected by this war.
With Apple’s decision to remove Unreal Engine and the company’s developer account on August 28, Epic Games took a step to revoke this decision. The company filed an application in a Northern California court and asked Apple to settle the decision. In the case, where the trial was held at jet speed, the opinions of the court board on both giants came to light.
The judge states that both sides have their wrong and right sides.
Judge Yvonne Gonzalez Rogers, who handled the small case between Epic Games and Apple, explained in her statements that she did not think of a softening decision regarding Fortnite Mobile, and that Apple went forward with regard to Epic’s developer account and therefore Unreal Engine. Although no decision has been taken in the first hearing, this opinion of the judge is a clear indication of which decisions the parties may face.
Judge Rogers said in a statement about Epic Games that the App Store rules were obviously clear, and that Epic Games was trying to gain extra profits by violating these rules. Epic Games rejected this, saying that their main goal is to earn less money from users’ pockets, while the judge said that this payment affects everyone in the industry.
“Go back to August 3”
One of Epic Games’ claims on this issue was that the competitive environment could not be provided. In other words, according to Epic Games, Apple’s share of applications was disrupting the competitive environment. However, the judge also opposed this claim and explained that it would be the right thing to return everything to August 3 and before. Epic Games lawyers emphasized that they will not revert to this contract, where the competitive environment cannot be maintained.
Here’s why Apple is closing Epic Games’ developer account:
In the statements made by Apple lawyers, it was stated that allowing the development of Unreal Engine will cause Epic Games to make similar moves, so Epic Games decided to close the developer accounts. However, according to Judge Rogers, this was going to extremes. Stating that Apple has separate contracts with Epic Games and Epic International (Unreal Engine), the judge stated that Apple did nothing but use the strongest trump card in this regard.
Epic Games’ lawyers harshly criticize Apple’s thinking. According to Epic Games, the removal of Unreal Engine from Apple platforms means that this game engine is killed. Some developers even contacted Epic Games and reported that they stopped using Unreal Engine. In response to these allegations, Apple lawyers say that as soon as the payment tool for the application in Fortnite Mobile is removed, the situation will return to the old and Unreal Engine will continue to be used on Apple platforms.
The judge announced its preliminary decision on the subject at the end of the hearing
In the first hearing of the case between Epic Games and Apple, a preliminary ruling was made on the matter. The judge made no decision in favor of Fortnite Mobile by doing what he said at the beginning of the trial. However, the decision regarding Unreal Engine will make Epic Games smile. The judge decided that Apple should not ban Unreal Engine, as banning Unreal Engine on Apple platforms would cause irreparable harm to the company.
The judge said that the interim decision taken at the end of the hearing will be implemented immediately. The court board, which postponed the next hearing until September 28, 2020, is expected to make the final decision at the next hearing. Until then, Fortnite Mobile will probably not be added to the App Store, but the Unreal Engine will be able to be used as easily as before.