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Judge won’t let ‘Fortnite’ back into App Store as Apple fight crawls on

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Judge won't let 'Fortnite' back into App Store as Apple fight crawls on 2

The battle royale between Epic Games and Apple is far from over. 

The ongoing debate over whether Fortnite, the wildly popular video game, will be allowed back in the App Store will not be answered any time soon. According to Mac Rumors, on Friday a California judge denied a request by Epic Games for a temporary injunction against Apple. If granted, it would have forced Apple to let Fortnite back on the app-distribution platform as the case was being heard. 

“Epic Games‌ cannot simply exclaim ‘monopoly’ to rewrite agreements giving itself unilateral benefit,” reads U.S. District Judge Yvonne Gonzalez Rogers’ order, in part, as quoted by Mac Rumors.  

Unless something radical happens, this means Fortnite will remain out of the App Store until some sort of agreement is reached or the case is resolved. Either way, it’s likely going to be a while — especially considering the fact that, as Mac Rumors notes, Apple and Epic Games won’t be back in court until May 2021.   

Apple first kicked Fortnite out of the App Store back in August, after the game’s maker, Epic Games, decided to bypass Apple’s policy on in-game purchases. Essentially, Apple wanted its contractually agreed upon cut of the sales, and Epic Games was sick of forking over the cash. 

So, Epic Games decided to give Fortnite players the option to buy its in-game currency, V-bucks, at a discount. The catch, of course, was that to get the discount players would need to buy directly from Epic Games — essentially removing Apple from the equation.

In a statement provided to Bloomberg, Apple expressed gratitude at the judge’s decision. 

“We’re grateful the court recognized that Epic’s actions were not in the best interests of its own customers and that any problems they may have encountered were of their own making when they breached their agreement,” read the statement.  

Notably, Fortnite is a multi-platform game. In other words, players can access it elsewhere besides iOS devices. Sill, Google also kicked it out of the Play Store, but Microsoft’s been playing nice with Epic and supporting its court fight.

The case has potential larger ramifications, however, as Epic Games essentially is claiming that the App Store is an illegal monopoly. If the judge were to eventually find in Epic Games’ favor, it could upend the entire app ecosystem. 

“This matter presents questions at the frontier edges of antitrust law in the United States,” Bloomberg quotes Judge Rogers as saying in her ruling. 

The larger battle, it would seem, is just getting started. 

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