A judge has prevented Apple from stopping Epic updating Unreal Engine on iOS but there seems little chance that Fortnite will return.
The ongoing legal battle between Apple and Epic Games has seen wins and losses for both sides, with a judge ruling that Apple can’t stop Epic Games from updating Unreal Engine – but also ruling that Fortnite must stay off the App Store.
Last week, Apple attempted to remove Epic’s developer access, which would have prevented them from updating Unreal Engine for iOS. That would’ve have affected many other developers and was enough for Microsoft to issue a statement in support of Epic – at least as far as Unreal Engine goes.
That seems to have worked, as now a judge has issued a temporary restraining order against Apple, preventing them from interfering with Epic’s access to developer tools and ensuring Unreal Engine can continue to be updated for iOS.
‘Epic Games and Apple are at liberty to litigate against each other, but their dispute should not create havoc to bystanders’, said US District Judge Yvonne Gonzalez Rogers.
‘Apple has chosen to act severely, and by doing so, has impacted non-parties, and a third-party developer ecosystem. In this regard, the equities do weigh against Apple.’
That seems perfectly reasonable, but it is only a temporary restraining order and if Apple wins the wider legal battle they’re certain to come back and revoke Epic’s access.
When is Fortnite coming back to iOS?
Whatever else happens the restraining order has nothing to do with Fortnite, which will remain off the App Store.
Despite what you might imagine Judge Rodgers seems to be very much on the ball with the whole case and called out Epic for choosing to ‘strategically’ break its agreement with Apple.
Or in other words they started this whole mess and everything that’s happened so far is, in the judge’s own words, of their ‘own making’.
The next step will be the case’s first hearing on 28 September, so unless Epic backs down there definitely won’t be any Fortnite on iOS until well after then – and almost certainly not at all this year.
Don’t expect any kind of quick judgement either, as Epic has said it needs four to six months to prepare for a trial, while Apple doesn’t want to start for 10 months.
Presumably Epic knew all this before they started but it does seem an extraordinarily self-destructive move, with little sign so far that they have any chance of winning.
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