Epic asks court to force Apple to reinstate Fortnite
In the latest twist in the ongoing legal battle between Epic Games and Apple, the former is now asking the courts to let Fortnite back on the App Store.
On Friday, September 4, Epic Games filed a motion, calling on the judge handling the case to award a preliminary injunction that would see the hit battle royale game, as well as Epic’s developer account, restored.
Fortnite has been blocked on iOS since August when Epic introduced a new way for players to purchase V-bucks, the game’s in-game currency. This move denied both Apple and Google their customary 30 percent cut of the revenue and violated their app store policies, resulting in the game being pulled (though Fortnite can still be sideloaded on Android). Epic countered by suing both companies accusing them of monopolistic practices.
In late August, Epic won a partial preliminary injunction that blocked Apple from removing Unreal Engine on iOS—something the latter had threatened to do on top of removing Fortnite. Here, it successfully argued that doing so would damage other third-party developers that used the engine.
Despite this, the ban on Fortnite remained, with the judge ruling that removing the game would not lead to the same level of harm that blocking Unreal Engine would.
In its new motion, Epic is requesting an injunction that must achieve four things. The first of these is to prevent Apple from blocking Fortnite or any other Epic app on the basis that Epic was using direct payments to avoid Apple’s 30% cut of the profits.
This includes protection for updates—Epic is currently unable to update Fortnite on iOS meaning that players haven’t been able to participate in the latest in-game events.
The second is to prevent Apple from “taking any adverse action against Epic.” This includes terminating its Developer Program account.
The third is for Apple to restore the account responsible for Fortnite to Apple’s Developer Program.
Talking to CNN Business, Epic stated that the motion was designed to “stop Apple from retaliating against [us] for daring to challenge Apple’s misconduct while our antitrust case proceeds.”
According to Epic, the injunction should be granted because it feels that it is “likely to succeed on [its] merits” in the case.
The court, however, has generally disagreed with Epic.
“The Court cannot conclude that Epic has met the high burden of demonstrating the likelihood of success on the merits, especially in the antitrust context,” said Judge Yvonne Gonzales Rogers in her previous ruling that brought Unreal Engine back to iOS.
Rogers has also disagreed with Epic’s claim that it would suffer irreparable harm without the injunction.
Epic’s motion hinges on the argument that Apple monopolizes the distribution and purchase of iOS apps. However, Epic first needs to convince the court that those represent markets.
“[Epic Games] is going to have to convince the judge that those are markets to begin with,” said John Bergmayer, legal director of consumer rights group Public Knowledge, to CNN Business.
Following Epic’s latest motion, Apple released a statement that reminded the site that the court has already “recommended that Epic company with the App Store guidelines while their case moves forward, guidelines they’ve followed for the past decade until they created this situation.”
In addition, the statement added Apple hopes that “we can work together [with Epic] again in the future, but unfortunately that is not possible today.”