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Judge rules Apple can remove Fortnite but Unreal Engine must remain available

Following on from Epic Games’ recent lawsuit and restraining order filings against Apple, a judge has officially weighed in on the case. Last night during a court hearing held via Zoom, US District Judge, Yvonne Gonzalez Rogers, decided that Apple was allowed to keep Fortnite off of the iOS App Store for the time being, but also granted Epic Games a temporary restraining order to keep Unreal Engine alive on iOS. 

The partial restraining order was granted due to Apple’s intent to revoke Epic Games’ access to developer tools, a move that Epic said would cause “significant damage” to Unreal Engine, as Epic Games would no longer be able to ship updates for Apple’s platforms. This would have an impact not just on Epic, but many third-party developers that use the Unreal Engine. This is part of the reason Microsoft got involved last week, filing a statement in support of Epic Games in its case against Apple.

While Apple can’t revoke Epic Games’ developer accounts, the company does not have to reinstate Fortnite to the iOS App Store. In this instance, the judge sided with Apple, stating that “the current predicament appears of Epic’s own making”, adding that “Epic Games remains free to maintain its agreements with Apple in breach status as this litigation continues”.

That sums up the key details from this first hearing. Moving forward we can expect more legal filings and statements flung back and forth ahead of lawyers reconvening on the 28th of September. If the case continues to move ahead, it should reach the trial phase in April 2021.

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KitGuru Says: There will be no major harm caused to Unreal Engine, which is good news, although the judge siding with Apple on the removal of Fortnite doesn’t seem like a good first step for Epic Games’ case here. Hopefully more updates will come through soon. 

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