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Apple can block Epic’s Fortnite but not Unreal Engine

A series of colourful characters are shown in this Fortnite promotional image

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Fortnite

A US judge has ruled that, for now, Apple can continue to block the video game Fortnite from its App Store.

However the tech giant cannot terminate Epic Games’ developer accounts or compromise its graphics tool Unreal Engine, which is used by many third-party game creators.

This is until a full hearing can take place on 28 September.

Apple pulled Fortnite from the App Store after Epic deliberately broke its rules in protest at Apple’s policies.

Epic said Apple had also threatened to take away its access to developer tools.

In her ruling, as reported by The Verge, Judge Yvonne Gonzalez Rogers wrote that Epic had not demonstrated that Apple’s actions so far had caused the “irreparable harm” it claimed in its legal papers.

However, she also wrote that Apple had “chosen to act severely” by threatening to block the Unreal Engine, which is widely used by others.

“Epic Games and Apple are at liberty to litigate against each other, but their dispute should not create havoc to bystanders,” she said.

However regarding Fortnite, Epic had “strategically chosen to breach its agreements with Apple,” she said.

The App Store conditions state that Apple takes 30% of revenue generated from in-app digital purchases, and developers are not allowed to signpost that prices may be cheaper outside the app.

Google takes the same cut on its Play Store.

Both removed Fortnite from their stores after Epic offered a discount on its in-game currency V Bucks if they were purchased on the website instead.

On Monday, Microsoft backed Epic in the dispute.

Xbox head Phil Spencer tweeted: “Ensuring that Epic has access to the latest Apple technology is the right thing for game developers and gamers.”

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