Fortnite May Not Return to Apple Store Following Lawsuit
A United States District Court judge struck ruling in Epic Games' lawsuit against Apple. Judge Yvonne Gonzalez Rogers ruled that Apple cannot dictate the purchases made in apps through the App Store. However, the judge ruled against Epic on all other counts of the trial. Epic Games had previously claimed that Apple was violating the anti-trust law but the judge ruled that it is not the case. Epic Games cannot set up its own store on Apple’s platform. The lawsuit was filed after Apple removed Fortnite from the App Store and the game has been unavailable on iOS ever since.
Fortnite may not return to Apple’s App Store
Fortnite was removed from the App Store last year, which led to Epic Games filing the lawsuit and starting a #FreeFortnite campaign. The game was removed from the App Store because Fortnite's developer, Epic Games, chose to offer discounts when purchasing V-Bucks (Fortnite’s in-game premium currency) directly from Epic. The publisher claimed that Apple’s practice of not letting app and game developers monetize their games outside the Apple Store was unreasonable which led to the lawsuit being filed in August 2020.
Despite the judge ruling that Apple cannot dictate purchases made in apps through the App Store, Fortnite might not be returning to iOS anytime soon. The judge ruled that Apple is not in violation of the anti-trust law and it does not need to allow Epic Games or other entities to create their own store on Apple platforms. Additionally, Apple does not need to allow Fortnite back on the iOS.
Apple to allow Fortnite back on iOS if Epic Games complies with policies
Following the lawsuit, Apple told The Verge in an official statement, “As we’ve said all along, we would welcome Epic’s return to the App Store if they agree to play by the same rules as everyone else. Epic has admitted to breach of contract and as of now, there’s no legitimate basis for the reinstatement of their developer account.”
Epic Games CEO, Tim Sweeney tweeted out, "Today’s ruling isn't a win for developers or for consumers. Epic is fighting for fair competition among in-app payment methods and app stores for a billion consumers."
The court ruling revealed that Epic Games choosing to inject its payment scheme into iOS was a breach of contract with Apple. Judge Rogers ruled, “Apple has the contractual right to terminate its DPLA with any or all of Epic Games’ wholly owned subsidiaries, affiliates, and/or other entities under Epic Games’ control at any time and at Apple’s sole discretion."
Epic Games also lost $3.6 Million USD which the company will have to pay Apple. It is also a loss for Apple as Fortnite's potential revenue on iOS is not being shared with Apple through the App Store.
IOS is one of the two major mobile platforms and it remains to be seen if Epic Games complies with Apple’s policies in order to reinstate the game on iOS, following a year of absence from the platform. Despite being removed from iOS, Fortnite generated $5.1 Billion USD in revenue in 2020, compared to 2019’s $3.7 Billion USD.