It’s becoming hard to tell which side is truly fighting for justice in the recent Apple/Epic debacle. Fortnite doesn’t want to pay 30% of its earnings to Apple for being listed in the App Store, but Epic’s Store itself takes 30% from developers? It’s a strange situation in which each corporation is making the other out as the bad guy, trying to bend the rules or lead customers toward the dark side.
The latest development happened during a preliminary hearing in a California court this week. Judge Yvonne Gonzalez Rogers, who is hearing the case, said that she is “inclined” not to require Apple to allow Fortnite on the App Store, but also that Apple may not terminate Epic’s developer accounts for Unreal Engine.
Epic requested the hearing in a bid to try and sort out the initial banning on Unreal’s developer accounts before Apple’s deadline end of this week. The developer argued that the Unreal Engine would be “destroyed” if it’s blocked on Apple’s developer assets because it is used to build cross-platform capabilities into apps and games.
“Epic’s lawyers said that Epic has already heard from developers who are abandoning the Unreal Engine due to Apple’s threat. Apple’s lawyer, in turn, said that everything would be resolved if Epic falls in line with the App Store rules and eliminates the direct payment option in Fortnite,” Macrumours details the proceedings.
It’s important to note that this isn’t the final say, as the official court case may only happen in 2021, if the two companies get their way. Epic and Apple both said they would need a few months to prep for the case, which would see Apple facing some antitrust allegations with its App Store, and Epic having to justify trying to bypass Apple’s Store regulations.
For now, the battle royale title, Fortnite will stay off the Apple App Store as ruled by the judge in this preliminary hearing, while developers using the Unreal Engine will continue to have access to Apple’s developer tools.