Judge won’t force App Store to let Fortnite return

SAN FRANCISCO (AFP) – A federal judge on Friday denied the latest bid by Epic Games to force Fortnite back into the App Store while its lawsuit against Apple heads for trial next year.

The two firms are fighting over whether Apple’s tight control of the App Store, and its 30 per cent cut of revenue, counts as monopolistic behaviour.

United States (US) District Court Judge Yvonne Gonzalez Rogers, who had previously rejected a similar request by Epic, rejected the battle royale game maker’s motion for an injunction ordering Apple to return Fortnite to the App Store immediately.

“Epic Games has never adequately explained its rush, other than its disdain for the situation,” Rogers said in a ruling denying an injunction ahead of trial. “The current predicament is of its own making.”

Apple pulled Fortnite from its online mobile apps marketplace on August 13 after Epic released an update that dodges revenue sharing with the iPhone maker. In her latest ruling, the judge again compared any loss of business suffered by Epic due to Fortnite’s eviction by Apple to a “self-inflicted wound.”

Due to the legal row, Fortnite fans using iPhones or other Apple devices no longer have access to the latest game updates, including the new season released at the end of August.

Rogers expressed empathy for Fortnite lovers unable to get the game on Apple mobile devices.

“This is especially so during these continued difficult times that is the Covid-19 pandemic era, where gaming and virtual worlds are both social and safe,” Rogers said in the ruling.