U.S. District Judge Yvonne Gonzalez Rogers has ruled that Apple will not have to reinstate Fortnite on the App Store. However, she has also ruled that the company cannot block Epic Games from providing Unreal Engine tech to other companies and delete its subsidiary accounts.
The initial order notes that “Epic Games strategically chose to breach its agreements with Apple” which led to the removal of Fortnite from the App Store. In contrast, Epic International did not breach any contract with Apple so the Unreal Engine and developer tools access cannot be revoked.
“The Court finds that with respect to Epic Games’ motion as to its games, including Fortnite, Epic Games has not yet demonstrated irreparable harm. The current predicament appears of its own making,”
The initial temporary order from Judge Rogers is similar to her views about the case. She had said at the starting of the hearing that she was inclined to agree with Apple on the removal of Fortnite from the App Store and that this damage was Epic’s own doing. However, the judge also noted that Apple was overreaching by threatening to terminate Epic’s subsidiary agreement that would have affected Unreal Engine. Microsoft had voiced its concerns about Apple blocking Unreal Engine saying it would harm game creators.
As things stand right now, Apple is under no obligation to put Fortnite back on the App Store. Epic Games, however, can remove the direct payment method from the game and resubmit it for approval to Apple. The Cupertino company has already said previously that it won’t make an exception for Fortnite and that Epic Games will have to remove the direct payment method from Fortnite and adhere to the App Store guidelines if it wants the game to be reinstated to the App Store.
This is just the initial order from Judge Rogers. There’s another hearing scheduled on September 28 to find a long-term solution on this issue.