San Francisco: A US judge has ruled that Apple cannot delete the developer account of Epic Games that supports open and real-time 3D creation platform Unreal Engine but can keep the Fortnite game away from App Store for violating its policies.
Apple had threatened to terminate Epic Games’ developer account by August 28 which would cut the company off from iOS and macOS development tools.
Judge Yvonne Gonzalez Rogers agreed that there is “potential significant damage to both the Unreal Engine platform itself, and to the gaming industry generally” it the platform is banned.
She, however, decided that Apple will not be required to bring the banned Fortnite game back to the App Store, The Verge reported on Tuesday.
“The court finds that with respect to Epic Games’ motion as to its games, including Fortnite, Epic Games has not yet demonstrated irreparable harm. The current predicament appears of its own making,” the judge was quoted as saying.
“Epic Games and Apple are at liberty to litigate against each other, but their dispute should not create havoc to bystanders,” Rogers said.
The same judge earlier said that she was likely to take action to protect Unreal Engine but may let the ban on popular game Fortnite stand.
Epic Games filed a lawsuit against Apple last week, alleging that the tech giant is threatening to terminate its developer account by August 28.
Fortnite was removed from the Apple App Store on August 13 for adding an in-app payment system in violation of the App Store rules.
Apple welcomed the decision on the removal of Fortnite game, saying “it’s ready to welcome Fortnite back if Epic Games decides to remove the direct payment option and return to the status quo”.
“We agree with Judge Gonzalez-Rogers that ‘the sensible way to proceed’ is for Epic to comply with the App Store guidelines and continue to operate while the case proceeds”.
Launched in 2017, Fortnite features a battle royale format where 100 players compete to survive as the last player standing on a remote island.
The popular game has amassed a huge following of 350 million players, and is available on multiple platforms.
Epic Games claimed that developers were already leaving Unreal Engine as uncertainty loomed over its future in the Apple ecosystem.
Microsoft had declared its support for the Unreal Engine platform by Epic Games in an additional filing.
Epic Games has announced ‘Unreal Engine 5’ to be released by late-2021.