Epic Games wins temporary order against Apple over Unreal Engine

But Apple will not be required to restore ‘Fortnite’ on the App Store

Epic Games has won a temporary restraining order against Apple over the latter’s attempts to block the Fortnite developer’s ability to support the Unreal Engine for iOS and Mac systems.

Last week, Epic Games filed an injunction against Apple after the tech giant threatened to remove the publisher from its Developer Program, and as a result affect support for the Unreal Engine. However, on late Monday (August 24), United States District Court Judge Yvonne Gonzalez Rogers ruled in favour of Epic Games in regards to the game engine.

“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,” Rogers said in the ruling, according to documents published by The Verge. She also added that Epic Games did not breach “the underlying agreement” related to Unreal Engine.

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“Apple does not persuade that it will be harmed based on any restraint on removing the developer tools,” Rogers noted. “Apple has chosen to act severely, and by doing so, has impacted non-parties, and a third-party developer ecosystem.”

Fortnite Season 3 Splashdown
Fortnite. Credit: Epic Games

However, the ruling was not a total win for Epic Games, who also requested for its hit battle royale game Fortnite to be restored on Apple’s App Store. In regards to its games, Rogers ruled against the developer, stating that “the company has not yet demonstrated irreparable harm” and that “the current predicament appears of its own making”.

The ruling on August 24 is “limited in scope”, according to The Verge, and only meant to maintain the “status quo” while more detailed arguments are heard. The outlet also noted that both Epic Games and Apple were asked when they would be ready to begin trial, with the former’s counsel suggesting a four-to-six month schedule and Apple’s suggesting a longer 10-month timespan.

The ruling comes just a day after Microsoft signaled its support for Epic Games. The tech giant had filed a statement backing Epic Games’ injunction against Apple’s retaliatory move to cut the developer from its Developer Program.

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Earlier this month, Epic Games filed legal action against Apple after the company pulled Fortnite from its App Store. The dispute stemmed from August 13, when Epic Games introduced “Epic direct payment”, which allows players to purchase Fortnite’s in-game currency directly from the developer, bypassing Apple’s App Store.

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