While we still have a long way to go before the Epic Apple feud begins its bench trial, there’s been a couple of notable moves by Judge Yvonne Gonzales Rogers ahead of the official trial.
A preliminary injunction released on Friday has ensured that Epic Games’ developer account should stay in place, which includes Unreal Engine, effectively making the temporary access to Unreal Engine permanent. The game Fortnite itself, however, remains barred on the platform.
“Without the ability to update the underlying engine for these and other games, the gaming industry built upon developers and fervent consumers, including iOS consumers, will be unnecessarily impacted. Moreover, the need for increasing avenues for creativity and innovation has not abated since the prior order. If anything, the continued ongoing pandemic has demonstrated the imperative for substantial digital and virtual innovation,” reads part of the ruling. “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. Thus, the public interest weighs overwhelmingly in favor of Unreal Engine and the Epic Affiliates.”
In that same injunction, the judge also suggests that the ruling of this case could have “significant and serious ramifications for Sony, Nintendo and Microsoft and their video game platforms” as she finds that the companies in question “all operate similar walled gardens or closed platform models as Apple, whereby the hardware, operating system, digital marketplace, and IAPs are all exclusive to the platform owner.”
As a result, the judge has quashed Epic’s argument that the iOS platform is unique from other devices because home consoles and computers require electrical outlets and separate screens to be used, instead arguing that those devices have “significant overlap.”