SAN FRANSISCO: A US judge has said that she is likely to take action to protect the open and real-time 3D creation platform called Unreal Engine from Epic Games in its fight against Apple but may let the ban on popular game Fortnite stand.
The legal battle between Epic Games and Apple started via a virtual Zoom hearing and judge Yvonne Gonzalez Rogers did not issue an immediate ruling but said she would be issuing a written order quickly, The Verge reported on Tuesday.
“I am not inclined to grant relief with respect to the games but I am inclined to grant relief with respect to the Unreal Engine,” she said. Epic Games has announced ‘Unreal Engine 5′ to be released by late-2021. Epic Games filed a lawsuit against Apple last week, alleging that the tech giant is threatening to terminate its developer account by August 28 which would cut the company off from iOS and macOS development tools.
Fortnite was removed from the Apple App Store on August 13. Epic Games told the court that developers are fleeing the Unreal Engine. “It’s happening now. It’s not speculative,” it said. Representing Apple, Gibson Dunn’s Richard Doren defended the move by citing Apple’s long-standing App Store policies for responding to developers who breach its terms.
“When Apple is dealing with an entity that is breaching its contracts, its practice is to terminate the accounts of all related parties,” Doren was quoted as saying. Apple hit back at Epic Games last week, saying the Fortnite game developer has created its own problems and Epics actions are putting the “entire App Store model at risk”.
In a response filed in the court, Apple said that in the wake of its own voluntary actions, Epic Games now seeks emergency relief. “But the ‘emergency’ is entirely of Epic’s own making. Developers who work to deceive Apple, as Epic has done here, are terminated,” said the Cupertino-based iPhone maker.
In the declaration to the court, Apple executive Phil Schiller wrote that Epic CEO Tim Sweeney asked for a “special deal with only Epic that would fundamentally change the way in which Epic offers apps on Apple’s iOS platform”.
Sweeney took to Twitter, saying Apple’s statement is misleading. “You can read my email in Apple’s filing, which is publicly available. I specifically said in Epic’s request to the Apple execs, ‘We hope that Apple will also make these options equally available to all iOS developers…'” he tweeted.
Launched in 2017, Fortnite features a battle royale format where 100 players compete to survive as the last player standing on a remote island. The popular game has amassed a huge following of 350 million players, and is available on multiple platforms.