Judge Criticizes ‘Fortnite’ Developer Epic Games in Ruling for Apple

Fortnite police car
Epic Games/Screenshot

In the latest update on the legal battle between Fortnite developer Epic Games and Apple, a judge has ruled that Apple cannot be forced to put the popular video game back in its App Store and criticized Epic Games for what she called deceitful practices and intentional breach of contract.

BGR reports that the judge presiding over Epic Games’ lawsuit against Apple has denied a temporary injunction that would have forced Apple to allow Fortnite back into the iOS App Store. Judge Yvonne Gonzalez Rogers ruled that although Epic Game’s Unreal Engine must be allowed to remain on Apple’s platforms, the iPhone maker does not have to allow Fortnite in its app store.

Gonzalez Rogers previously hinted during the injunction relief hearing weeks ago that she was not inclined to side with Epic in relation to Fortnite and pointed out that Epic lied in its business relationship with Apple stating: “You did something, you lied about it by omission, by not being forthcoming. That’s the security issue. That’s the security issue!” Gonzalez Rogers told Epic: “There are a lot of people in the public who consider you guys heroes for what you guys did, but it’s still not honest.”

Apple argued that the App Store rules violated by Epic are meant to protect users from security risks and that Epic directly broke Apple’s rules when it activated a secondary payment system in its Fortnite game bypassing Apple’s payment processor and circumventing Apple’s 30 percent App Store fee.

On Friday, Gonzalez Rogers made her ruling on the case denying Epic’s preliminary injunction request for Fortnite. The judge clarified that Epic has breached a contract unilaterally and cannot claim that it did so because of monopoly concerns. Rogers also stated that Epic’s failure to show that it’s willing to work with Apple to have the game reinstated proves that Epic is not concerned about its iOS users who are currently unable to play Fortnite on their devices. Gonzalez Rogers wrote:

Epic Games‌ cannot simply exclaim “monopoly” to rewrite agreements giving itself unilateral benefit. Its other identified bases: damage to its reputation and the Fortnite gaming community cannot constitute irreparable harm where such harm flows from ‌Epic Games‌’ own actions and its strategic decision to breach its agreements with Apple. While consumers are feeling the impact of this litigation, the fact remains: these are business disputes. A putative class action on behalf of all developers on these exact same issues was already in progress when Epic Games breached the agreements. […] Yet, Epic Games has never adequately explained its rush, other than its disdain for the situation. The current predicament is of its own making. […]

To assist, the Court even offered to require the 30% to be placed in escrow pending resolution of the trial which ‌Epic Games‌ flatly rejected. The refusal to do so suggests ‌Epic Games‌ is not principally concerned with iOS consumers, but rather, harbors other tactical moves. ‌Epic Games‌ admits that the technology exists to “fix” the problem by easily deactivating the “hotfix.”

Gonzalez Rogers stated that a trial should happen in front of a jury which won’t take place before next July.

Read the full ruling here.

Lucas Nolan is a reporter for Breitbart News covering issues of free speech and online censorship. Follow him on Twitter @LucasNolan or contact via secure email at the address lucasnolan@protonmail.com

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