Makers of Fortnite Battle Apple in Court

Results of lawsuit could mean infinite apps without Apple’s approval


Recently, the UK courts have dismissed Epic Games’ lawsuit against Apple. You may not have heard about this whole situation so I’ll give you a little background. In August of 2020, Epic Games decided to lower the price of the virtual currency V-bucks in their game Fortnite by 20% if users purchased directly from Epic Games. Epic Games announced that if purchased from Apple or Google’s storefront they would not give the 20% discount because of the 30% revenue cut taken by these companies. As you could imagine, Apple and Google were quick to respond. The tactic to try to increase revenue by eliminating the middleman immediately resulted in Apple and Google removing Fortnite from their app stores. On the same day, Epic Games released a video depicting George Orwell’s 1984 in Fortnite. The video resembled the dystopian society’s “Two Minutes Hate” with an apple on the screen and Fortnite characters watching in an auditorium. The video served as a stand against Apple and Google’s anti-competition with the hashtag #FreeFortnite.

Furthering Epic Games’ battle against these Big Tech companies, they filed a lawsuit against Apple in The United States. Removing Fortnite from the App store resulted in Epic Games’ denied access to the IOS Unreal Engine which allows games to be updated. This means that bugs and glitches could not be fixed after the game was removed from the App store. Epic Games stated that they would have created a storefront to sell their apps, but Apple denies access to that. Court Judge Yvonne Gonzalez Rogers sided with Apple and ruled that they did not have to immediately reinstate Fortnite onto the App Store but decided that Epic Games must be given access to the Unreal Engine to allow them to be able to update their game.

Epic Games would not give up here. On October 7th, they filed a lawsuit for May 3, 2021, against Apple’s monopoly over app distribution taking a 30% revenue cut. In December, they filed two more lawsuits against the United Kingdom and European Union stating, “they have abused [their] dominant position” and “engaged in anti-competitive agreements/concerted practices”. The results of these trials will be huge. If Epic succeeds in proving Apple’s dominance as a monopoly in app distribution, any publisher could potentially make their own storefronts on iOS devices, which will open up the chance for endless games to come to iOS platforms without Apple’s approval.

In February, the UK courts dismissed Epic Games’ lawsuit because the UK arm of Apple “does not provide support for technological or systems related issues”. Although they could not make a ruling, they said that the dispute did have merits in America. Watch out for the rulings of these lawsuits in the coming months because the results could be transformational.