If we’re keeping score, and really that would be unnecessary since the courts are doing that for us, we’re currently at Epic 1, Apple 1 in the Fortnite-involved legal battle over platform payment monopolies.
Last night, the judge in the case issued an early decision that essentially stops Apple from retaliating against Epic by deleting Epic’s developer accounts and threatening both Unreal Engine and all games that use it. In the temporary restraining order, Judge Yvonne Gonzalez Rogers writes, “Apple has chosen to act severely, and by doing so, has impacted non-parties, and a third-party developer ecosystem.”
“The record shows potential significant damage to both the Unreal Engine platform itself, and to the gaming industry generally, including on both third-party developers and gamers. The public context in which this injury arises differs significantly: not only has the underlying agreement not been breached, but the economy is in dire need of increasing avenues for creativity and innovation, not eliminating them. Epic Games and Apple are at liberty to litigate against each other, but their dispute should not create havoc to bystanders. Certainly, during the period of a temporary restraining order, the status quo in this regard should be maintained.”
But the judge didn’t immediately grant Epic’s emergency request for relief relating to Apple’s barring of Fortnite from the Appstore, saying that “the current predicament appears of its own making” and that on that front “Epic has not yet demonstrated irreparable harm.” In other words, Unreal games are safe for now, but Fortnite stays banned while proceedings continue.
I suspect this list is going to get too long to embed before long, but here’s all our coverage of the suit so far.