Judge criticizes Fortnite maker Epic Games during a hearing with Apple

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A federal judge in California has spoken out against Epic Games during a virtual hearing on Monday, according to reports CNN. She also recommends that the case between Epic and Apple be judged by a jury.

‘Epic wants to unleash a developer revolution’

Judge Yvonne Gonzalez Rogers determined that again on Monday Fortnite did not have to return to the App Store. Apple pulled the game from its app store in mid-August, after Epic Games built in its own payment system to bypass Apple’s commission. That’s against the rules of Apple’s platform. Epic then sued Apple.

According to Rogers, Epic knew it would be in breach of contract when the company built the payment system into its app. “It’s very simple: you knew direct payments were not allowed and you did it anyway,” the judge told Epic’s lawyer. “There are people who see you as heroes for what you did, but it remains unfair.”

Epic said it had deliberately broken the rules, but says it cannot agree to Apple’s anti-competitive contract. According to Epic, the 30 percent commission to Apple is too high, but the company has a monopoly position that prevents developers from getting out of it. The game developer also reported that millions of iOS players have been affected by Apple’s decision to purchase Fortnite from the store.

The judge said people have plenty of other options to play the game. “Shielded platforms like this have been around for decades. Nintendo, Sony and Microsoft have it too. You’re asking me to ignore how the industry works.”

Apple said at the hearing that Epic CEO Tim Sweeney is trying to unleash a developer revolution to harm Apple’s revenue model. “Epic wants others to break their contracts and sneak in software to get around the rules.”

Rogers does not expect the lawsuit between Epic and Apple to take place until July 2021 at the earliest. The judge said during the hearing that it would be good for a jury to consider the case.

The judge previously ruled in a preliminary ruling that Apple Fortnite from the App Store, but the company was not allowed to revoke Epic’s developer license. Epic would then not be able to maintain its platform Unreal Engine, which also runs many other games. According to the judge, this would lead to “havoc” for those involved.

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