• Fri. Sep 17th, 2021

Epic CEO States Fortnite Won't Return To iOS Until Apple Can Offer Fair In-App Payment

ByASNF

Sep 11, 2021

Fortnite developer Epic Games has lost its antitrust court case against Apple. However, the courts ruled Apple must allow third-party in-app payment options.


Epic Games has lost its year-long antitrust lawsuit against Apple Inc., The Verge reports. The North Carolina-based video game developer attacked Apple in 2020 after the tech giant removed the popular Fortnite Battle Royale game from the App Store. This decision from Apple followed Epic’s attempt at bypassing the App Store’s mandatory taxes and commissions. A brutal legal tug-of-war ensued, and the case has finally reached its conclusion.

Unfortunately, the verdict did not favor Epic Games. Apple believes that the company did not violate antitrust laws, and the courts agreed. However, they will have to offer third-party in-app payments in the future. While many fans were hoping to see Fortnite return to iOS, Epic Games’ CEO Tim Sweeney has vowed it won’t happen until third-party app payments are firmly in place.

Epic Loses to Apple in Court Case

Court transcripts per The Verge revealed that Judge Yvonne Gonzalez-Rogers ruled in Apple’s favor more than one year after Epic Games launched a lawsuit against the tech company.

“As a major player in the wider video gaming industry, Epic Games brought this lawsuit to challenge Apple’s control over access to a considerable portion of this submarket for mobile gaming transactions. Ultimately, Epic Games overreached. As a consequence, the trial record was not as fulsome with respect to antitrust conduct in the relevant market as it could have been,” the conclusion reads.

The Judge ultimately deemed that Epic overreached in its attempts to thwart Apple’s policies. Despite the ruling against Epic, the conclusion offered a glimmer of hope for Fortnite’s potential return to the iOS store down the line.

“Thus, and in summary, the Court does not find that Apple is an antitrust monopolist in the submarket for mobile gaming transactions. However, it does find that Apple’s conduct in enforcing anti-steering restrictions is anticompetitive. A remedy to eliminate those provisions is appropriate. This measured remedy will increase competition, increase transparency, increase consumer choice and information while preserving Apple’s iOS ecosystem…”

It’s not the result Epic and Fortnite fans wanted. An outright win for the video game developer likely would have led to a desired in-app purchasing alternative and force Apple’s hand to remove the ban placed on Fortnite. While those wheels might be in motion, Epic Games’ Founder and CEO—Tim Sweeney—stated that Fortnite will not return to the iOS platform until alternative payment options are available.

Tim Sweeney Reacts to Verdict, Says Fortnite Won’t Return

Sweeney took to Twitter with his response to the verdict, stating, “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.”

He continued in another tweet, “Fortnite will return to the iOS App Store when and where Epic can offer in-app payment in fair competition with Apple in-app payment, passing along the savings to consumers.”

Whether this means Epic will appeal the decision is unclear at this stage. However, Sweeney made it clear that Fortnite’s absence from the App Store will continue until the third-party payment injunctions placed on Apple go into effect. A recent class-action lawsuit settlement and the following Epic Games case indicated that Apple enjoys a stranglehold of its ecosystem. Thus, the tech company will have to include third-party in-app payment options down the line.

That notion is undoubtedly a micro win for Epic Games and Sweeney, but the company’s CEO vowed to fight on and not bring Fortnite back to iOS until these processes and procedures are in place.

Featured Image: Epic Games

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