Apple ordered by US court not to block Unreal Engine – But Fortnite cannot return to App Store 

A US district court in Oakland has ordered Apple not to block Unreal Engine’s use on the App Store. So developers using the popular engine can breathe a sigh of relief for the time being at least. However, Epic’s efforts to get Fortnite put back on the App Store have failed for now. 

District Court Judge Yvonne Gonzalez Rogers agreed with Epic when it claimed that Apple’s retaliatory move against Unreal Engine was a step too far. “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 added that: “Epic Games and Apple are at liberty to litigate against each other, but their dispute should not create havoc to bystanders. Certainly, during the period of a temporary restraining order, the status quo in this regard should be maintained. You can read the full ruling here

“Apple has chosen to act severely, and by doing so, has impacted non-parties, and a third-party developer ecosystem.”  And that’s something that wasn’t an acceptable casualty of the fallout between the two companies. 

Epic did not succeed, though, in getting Fortnite back on the App Store. With Rogers noting that based on the information the court had, it could not be sure that Epic would defeat Apple in the resulting court case.

The judge did weigh in the potential impact of removing Fortnite from players in a pandemic, where games have become a critical form on entertainment, but didn’t decide that the public interest meant the two companies should carry on as usual until for the time being. 

A further hearing on the injunction, though not the broader court case that will decide the outcome, is set for Monday the 28th of September, via Zoom of course.

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