San Francisco, Oct 10: A US judge has ruled that Apple can keep blocking the popular game Fortnite permanently but restrained the Cupertino-based iPhone maker from retaliating against the open and real-time 3D creation platform Unreal Engine owned by Epic Games which is also the developer of Fortnite.
Judge Yvonne Gonzales Rogers refused to grant Epic Games a preliminary injunction against Apple on Friday, reports The Verge.
“Epic Games and Apple are at liberty to litigate this action for the future of the digital frontier, but their dispute should not create havoc to bystanders,” said the judge.
The judge, however, allowed Apple to permanently block Fortnite which has a huge following of over 350 million monthly active players, and is available on multiple platforms.
Daily active users of the Fortnite game have plummeted more than 60 per cent on Apple iOS devices since the ban.
Apple removed the account of Epic Games from its App Store and pulled out the Fortnite Game earlier on August 13 for adding an in-app payment system in violation of the App Store rules.
Unless Epic decides to remove its own in-app payment mechanism that initiated the bitter legal feud in August, it has no chance to bring Fortnite back on the App Store.
“Epic Games is grateful that Apple will continue to be barred from retaliating against Unreal Engine and our game development customers as the litigation continues,” an Epic spokesperson said in a statement.
An Apple spokesperson added: “We’re grateful the court recognized that Epic’s actions were not in the best interests of its own customers and that any problems they may have encountered were of their own making when they breached their agreement”.
While Epic Games has blamed Apple for restricting its business on the App Store, the iPhone maker said the arguments are “self-righteous” and “self-interested”.
In its latest court filing, Apple said Epic has benefited from Apple’s promotion and developer tools, earning more than $600 million through the App Store.
In its court filing, Apple denied that its 30 per cent commission was anti-competitive, saying it was Epic Games that violated its contract.
Epic Games said in the motion that more than 116 million registered Fortnite players have accessed the game via Apple devices.
“Apple is a monopolist. It controls all app distribution on iOS. It controls all in-app payment processing for digital content on iOS. It unlawfully maintains these two monopolies by explicitly prohibiting any competitive entry in either market,” Epic Games said in the court filing.