Judge blocks Apple from retaliating against Unreal Engine, Fortnite to remain off App Store

A federal judge on Friday granted Epic Games’ petition to prohibit any action by Apple against the Unreal Engine, but denied the game maker’s bid to reinstate Fortnite to the App Store.

In her ruling, Judge Yvonne Gonzales Rogers granted in part and denied in part Epic’s preliminary injunction that sought to both protect an affiliate developer account that maintains the Unreal Engine and force Apple to restore Fortnite after it was pulled for implementing a rule-breaking direct payment option.

The ruling cements an earlier decision from August and ensures the current state of affairs remains unchanged throughout a pending bench trial.

Following an initial attempt to return Fortnite to the App Store, Epic launched a second legal effort in September. During in-court hearings, Gonzales Rogers was largely unpersuaded to take early action by either party. She noted a heavy burden fell on Epic to prove Apple’s alleged antitrust misconduct, and the company simply failed to piece together a cogent argument.

“While consumers are feeling the impact of this litigation, the fact remains: these are business disputes. A putative class action on behalf of all developers on these

exact same issues was already in progress when EpicGames breached the agreements,” Gonzales Rogers said in today’s ruling. “Yet, Epic Games has never adequately explained its rush, other than its disdain for the situation. The current predicament is of its own making.”

Likewise, Apple failed to successfully argue that maintaining Epic’s affiliate developer account — Epic International — poses risk of irreparable harm. Removing the account, however, would deprive developers of access to the Unreal Engine.

“Apple’s aggressive targeting of separate contracts in an attempt to eradicate Epic Games and its affiliates fully from the iOS platform was unnecessary and imperiled a thriving third-party developer ecosystem,” the jurist

Lawsuit alleges Apple blocks cloud gaming apps to stifle Apple Arcade competition

A new class action lawsuit alleges that Apple enjoys monopoly power in the iOS mobile gaming marketplace, and exhibits anticompetitive behavior to keep it that way.

The complaint, lodged in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California, claims that Apple has “unlawfully [foreclosed] competition” through “persistent, pervasive, and secretive” misconduct.

New Jersey man John Pistacchio, the plaintiff in the case, claims to be paying “supracompetitive prices” for Apple Arcade as a result of the company’s alleged anticompetitive behavior.

More specifically, the lawsuit suggests that Apple exerts monopoly power over the iOS App Store by requiring developers to follow its app guidelines and by prohibiting third-party app stores. It adds that developers and app publishers are “powerless to constrain” Apple’s conduct by refusing to publish apps on iOS.

“No developer or group of developers have sufficient power to entice enough iOs users to leave iOS, such that developing apps solely for other platforms would be profitable,” the complaint reads, suggesting that companies like Microsoft, Facebook, and Google fall into that category.

The complaint goes on to claim that Apple exhibits anticompetitive behavior to maintain its monopoly status in iOS subscription-based gaming services.

Those alleged anticompetitive behaviors include imposing technical restrictions to prevent users from playing other services besides Apple Arcade; imposing contractual restrictions on developers; abusing its app review guidelines to protect its monopoly; and rejecting cloud-based subscription platforms.

It cites several instances of alleged anticompetitive behavior, such as Apple’s prohibition on cloud gaming apps like Xbox Game Pass and its treatment of gaming services like Facebook Gaming.

Furthermore, the lawsuit suggests that Apple blocks competing game services not because they violate its app review guidelines, but because they are rivals to Apple Arcade. (Apple Arcade, in fact, complies with all of Apple’s own guidelines.)

“Apple