Fortnite might not be back on Apple’s app store for five years – or longer

    
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You know how kids’ soccer teams line up after a match to give each other high-fives and “good games” in a show of sportsmanship? Apple is the one kid who’s hanging back, has his arms crossed, and is scowling with barely contained anger following the recent Epic vs. Apple ruling on an anti-monopoly case.

In fact, Apple outright said that it’s not going to allow Epic’s Fortnite back onto its app store until it’s exhausted the full appeals process. This process could take five years or longer, depending on the courts.

Naturally, Epic is crying foul over this, saying that Apple “reneged” on its stance to welcome back Fortnite if everyone was playing by the same rules.

While Apple prevailed on most of the antitrust-related counts in this recent lawsuit, it lost a critical one that determined the company was “engaging in anti-competitive conduct” under California law and could no longer block third-party in-app purchases.

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David Goodman

“While Apple prevailed on most of the antitrust-related counts in this recent lawsuit, it lost a critical one that determined the company was “engaging in anti-competitive conduct” under California law and could no longer block third-party in-app purchases.”

This is, factually, untrue.

Apple still can block third-party IN-APP PURCHASES>

What they cannot block – unless appealed – are BUTTONS, LINKS, etc., that point users to OUT-OF-APP options for alternate payment. (e.g., Epic Game Store could sell vbucks on it’s store, but they werne’t allowed to have an in-app option to point users to that, and that’s what they lost.)

I expect that APple will appeal that ruling — that’s based on a California law, and they will probably argue that it shouldn’t be valid for a national company. (there’s actual legal phrasing here that I do not know, but you get the gist.)

They are 100% still allowed to block third-party in-app purchases, and this is a mis-reading and incorrect interpretation of the ruling.

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Roger Christie

I don’t get why the results of this case continue to be misconstrued.

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Hikari Kenzaki

So, I was discussing this at work when the ruling came through and I brought up this point.
Epic only won the one point about the in-game shop. Everything else, they lost.
Apple can’t keep a developer from advertising another store front explicitly in-game.
However, Apple can (for any non-discriminatory reason) flat out refuse to let a game/app into the store. They don’t have to say why. They can just deny it entry. This is because the court never ruled that the platform itself constituted a monopoly or was anti-competitive. It was simply the one rule they are not allowed to enforce.

Leo
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Leo

Epic really shot themselves in the foot by violating the contract they signed. They seemed to have really thought the public would be behind their actions in droves and on their side. People just played something else or played the game on something else.

The judge did not give them an out there. They committed the violation of the contract. But this is going to be appealed and such for years so…

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Greaterdivinity

Get absolutely fucked, Tim Sweeney, and cry more about it on Twitter.

We intentionally broke the rules and violated our contract to provoke a court battle! And we mostly won that court battle on the bit we REALLY wanted so please let us back on now Apple…wait…you’re taking action against us for knowingly and willfully violating our contract with you? WE ARE SUFFERING CONSEQUENCES? HOW DARE YOU, DO YOU KNOW WHO WE EVEN ARE?!

I liked him more when he was just a nerdy asshole who made really good engines, and less when he was trying to pretend to fight for the little guy and be a cool social media person.

The ruling was great, but Apple is 100% in the right here for enforcing penalties that they’d enforce on any company who knowingly, intentionally, and maliciously violated their agreement with Apple to use the App Store.

Both companies are assholes, and I have no problems with the both of them crying because the other one is being mean. I guess the world of multi-billion dollars companies isn’t too different than high school after all.

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Bryan Correll

I have no problems with the both of them crying because the other one is being mean.

I think this has been my favorite on-going gaming news of the year for just that reason. I have a low opinion of both companies, so I can just sit back, eat my popcorn, and enjoy the show.

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cursedseishi

Except, I’d argue, that ‘critical one’ Apple lost wasn’t much of a loss for them. The matter of the anti-steering violation was essentially settled in August with absolutely zero thanks to Epic’s greedy squandering of media attention away from it and that particular case. This was just a ‘confirmation’ of sorts for that. And yes, they are waiting for the whole process to settle…

Because, once again, Epic is the one causing it.

As usual, Epic is the one at fault for their own ‘problems’, and they’re only so much a ‘problem’ as they need it to be to push their own crap storefront. Epic broke their contract, Epic clearly isn’t accepting the courts decision despite what they’ve (i.e. Sweeney Tim) said before the ruling, and Epic clearly wants to try and play chicken with Apple in the hopes of them eventually burning out.

To borrow the words used in the article? If Apple is the kid with their arms crossed and scowling out of anger? They’ve got good reason to, because it is at the kid, Epic, whose been aiming his slides (and his nasty cleats) at the back of their leg all game long. And Epic, despite the coach telling him to knock it off, is still stamping his foot and arguing he totally doesn’t have any cleats and he didn’t do any slide kicks and also that Apple kid is kind of smelly and its his fault anyways.

Epic blatantly broke contract and slipped a Trojan backdoor into the IOS Fortnite that they could later use to bypass Apple’s monetization with the blatant lie of it being a ‘hotfix’. They only did that, of course, because they knew Apple would kick their game off the store as a result of it. And it was done explicitly for that reason. We ALL should know this by now.

They do not deserve to be allowed back on as a result of that, nor should they expect to be. Had someone done this to Epic? I guarantee you Epic wouldn’t allow them back onto the Game Store or Unreal Engine license–they’d grind them out of existence. They’ve done it before.

Both companies are utter shite. But that doesn’t mean one can’t be more greasy roadkill skunk residue than the other at times. Nor does that mean we should believe them when they take a swing at the other and go ‘SeeEEEEe?! We ArE ON YouR SiDE, FEllOw GamErZZZz xxx sixty-nince #420blazin’.

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Schmidt.Capela

The matter of the anti-steering violation was essentially settled in August with absolutely zero thanks to Epic’s greedy squandering of media attention away from it and that particular case.

And even before that Apple already allowed app makers to sell things to be accessed through the apps, like subscriptions or V-Bucks, through external sites. What you couldn’t do was telling the user of the external ways to purchase, be it by adding notices to the app store page, by adding a notice in the app itself, or by using information obtained from the app or app store to reach the user.

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Danny Smith

Well there goes Tims plans to actually pay for the Epic Store then.

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Greaterdivinity

Considering Fortnite’s money came from pretty much everywhere but iOS (single digit % reportedly, whereas PS4 was HALF the revenue for the game), I doubt it.

This just squashes Tim’s vanity project of reforming the digital distribution/payment ecosystem on mobile (but not console). EGS will eventually pay for itself (ideally) the same way Amazon, Netflix, and just about every other major tech company has done that – by spending years burning money to grow and going into deep debt, first. It could end up a WeWork too, it’s hardly a foolproof plan, but like, it’s one that many, many companies have followed to success. And Epic doesn’t even need to go into mountains of debt to do it, they can just use their Fortnite Bux.

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Arktouros

By all accounts of the court case even every time they’ve spent money on a big exclusive or given away a free game it brings new users to the platform so it’s absolutely working for them. The hardest thing to get people to do is download/use your platform even once.

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Arktouros

You come at the king, you best not miss.

Apple offered to allow Fortnite back onto the store so long as it was willing to play by the original rules allowed by Apple (Apple gets a 30% cut) and follow the contract it signed until the court case was resolved. Epic refused this deal for over a year.

Now after that court case has concluded and said Apple must allow steering (IE: opening up links to cheaper fortnite cash sold directly by Epic) Epic all of a sudden wants back onto the store. However that court case also found that Epic was in breach of contract and owes Apple millions of dollars and that Apple was within it’s rights to terminate Fortnite because of said breach of contract.

So this is really all a big game of tit-for-tat. It has nothing to do with good sportsmanship or otherwise. It’d be like if the Ad supplier for this website decided to suddenly pay you less than what you agreed to be paid for ad clicks/views then you guys refused to keep using them. Even if they come back later and said they would pay you the agreed rates in the future you’re not “bad sports” or “bad winners” for going with a different company.