It’s weapons at the ready as a court date for the legal battle between Epic Games and Apple has been set. With the developers of Fortnite suing the American tech-giant over what they describe as a monopolisation of the iOS digital marketplaces, the two are set to go head to head in the courtroom.
Epic Games filed a lawsuit immediately after Apple banned the company from the App Store after the developers were deemed to be in breach of its payment rules. A bench trial – which means there’ll be no jury present – will begin on May 3 next year.
Epic Games’ argument is that with Apple banning third-party companies from running their own stores on the platform, they’ve essentially created a monopoly. This would put Apple in breach of the antitrust law, which was set up to prevent such behaviour.
The timing couldn’t come at a worse time for Apple, as the House Judiciary’s committee on antitrust has recently released a report in which it said the company, along with rivals Google, Facebook and Amazon, have created a monopoly within the tech industry. It may be very difficult Apple to now argue otherwise.
With the two companies at loggerheads, Apple has prevented gamers from downloading Fortnite on iOS devices since August, and players who already had the game before then are now unable to update it. This means players are unable to receive any of the latest seasonal content such as changes to the map or new skins and characters.
This isn’t the first time Epic Games had been shut down. Google Play also took the decision to throw Fortnite off its own platform, although Android users can still access the device on other digital stores that support the operating system.
Due to the on-going pandemic, the court has not decided whether the case should be held in person or virtually via video link, but things should become more clear at the start of next year.