The players of Fortnite on iPhone will have to take their troubles patiently. The Epic Games studio has just lost a first legal round against Apple, and must prepare for a trial that may not happen before the summer of 2021.
Epic’s fight against Apple will continue for a while. This Monday, September 28, Epic Games presented its arguments to try to find a small place on the AppStore for Fortnite. Sadly, Judge Yvonne Gonzalez Rogers ruled in favor of Apple and paved the way for a full trial that may not come until mid-2021.
Speaking of how Epic got to slip their in-house payment method into Fortnite, the judge criticized the company “for not being honest” and that his punishment was “self-inflicted”, since the studio knew what to expect when they gave it a go. To which Epic’s lawyers responded that experience was needed to prove that “consumers want choice and lower prices”. An admissible argument according to Ms. Gonzalez Rogers, but which does not explain why Epic refuses to restore a version of Fortnite in accordance with the rules of the AppStore by the end of the trial.
“Closed ecosystems have been around for decades”, said the judge, justifying Apple’s position “Nintendo has a closed ecosystem, Sony has a closed ecosystem, Microsoft has a closed ecosystem. What Apple does is not that different.” By siding with Apple, Ms. Gonzalez Rogers raises the debate on the field of competition in the general ecosystem of video games. For its part, Epic is trying to tighten the case on Apple’s practices within its own iOS ecosystem.
Given the scale of the case and the turmoil it could cause in the mobile ecosystem, the judge therefore considered that “this case must go to a jury” in order to know a little “what people think”, rather than relying on opinion “of an umpteenth judge”.
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