Epic Games has begun its legal battle against Apple after its battle royale bombshell, Fortnite, was removed from the iPhone AppStore in 2020. This lockdown prevented 116 out of 350 million players from being able to access game updates, so Epic took action on the matter by taking it to the American and Australian courts.
Epic allegedly broke their agreements with Apple after allowing players to buy VBucks, the in-game currency, through non-AppStore channels, avoiding the need to give a portion of the revenue to the giant. technological.
Although it seems that Epic wants more than Fortnite’s return to iPhones, this lawsuit has the potential for Apple to release its platforms. On the other hand, game developers using the Unreal Engine to build their apps could run into trouble if Epic loses its access to Apple’s ecosystem entirely.
Want to know more about Epic Games vs Apple, including trial dates, the latest details, and what it can mean for your favorite games? Keep reading.
What does each of the parts say?
Epic Games has spoken quite a bit about their dislike of AppStore policies. The entire #FreeFortnite campaign started as a protest against a 30% cut in purchases through the AppStore. Epic argues that these policies are restrictive and go beyond the platform leading to an effective iPhone monopoly. The Fortnite developer would like to release an app that rivals the AppStore and offers a different opportunity than the iPhone offers.
Apple, on the other hand, argues that the platform is fair and that Epic has broken agreements it had with the apple by updating Fortnite without permission to avoid sharing the benefits of V-Bucks with them. This violation could not only leave Fortnite out of iPhones if the jury supports Apple, but it would be banned from launching any game that has been created with the Unreal Engine (the game engine that is owned by Epic Games).
The stakes are high depending on the outcome of the trial.
When do the trials take place?
The two companies will meet in US courts on May 3, 2021. Earlier than expected, but still nine months after Epic proceeded to act against Apple in August 2020.
The Australian trial, on the other hand, is yet to be announced. Epic released its proceedings against the tech giant in November 2020. Although the judicial system is different in each country, based on the delay of the American courts, Epic would not go to trial in Australia until September 2021, at the earliest. From there, they would have a verdict from the US, either for better or for worse.
What does this judgment mean for games like Fortnite?
There is an opportunity that the final decision of each case maintains the current situation, Fortnite will not be able to be played directly on Apple devices, but other games with Unreal Engine will be able to be played. But what if Epic Games wins?
If Epic wins, it will be able to launch its own version of the AppStore on iPhones. Think of Steam and the Epic Games store on PC, instead of having to download games from a single store, players will be able to choose. Still, some games would be exclusive in one place.
Epic’s AppStore could operate like PC’s, offering developers more benefit than others. Considering that the battle started because Apple cut profits by 30%, it seems obvious that Epic would want to keep a smaller percentage in its own store (maybe 12%, to match that of PC).
What has happened so far?
Although the trial has not started yet, progress has been made. Judge Yvonne Gonzalez Rogers, who is presiding over the case in the US, has denied Epic’s request for Fortnite to return to iOS until the case is resolved.
Rogers ruled that Apple could not remove Epic’s developer accounts, allowing it to continue with Unreal Engine on iOS and macOS. Without that decision, other developers could have forced Apple devices out until a new engine has been implemented.
We also know some details about the American trial such as that it will not have a jury (the judge will decide) after both Epic and Apple requested that it be.
Finally, Judge Rogers said that a key aspect of her analysis of the case would be Epic’s ability to separate the AppStore from other digital stores such as Xbox Live, PlayStation Store and the Nintendo eShop. He cited that his decision could have major ramifications for Sony, Nintendo and Microsoft.