The Epic Games vs Apple lawsuit has already taken many unexpected twists and turns with no end in sight.
In new court documents, shared by The Verge, the Judge overseeing the lawsuit, Yvonne Gonzales Rogers, has ruled that Apple can’t block the Unreal Engine from Apple devices, but she denied Epic Game’s motion to have Fortnite reinstated on iOS. The Unreal Engine is a massively popular game engine, used on many video games from small indie mobile titles to major AAA releases. Blocking games using the engine could have detrimental effects. Earlier in the lawsuit, Microsoft’s Kevin Gammill supported this motion saying,
“Apple’s discontinuation of Epic’s ability to develop and support Unreal Engine for iOS or macOS will harm game creators and gamers. For game creators in the later stages of development utilizing Unreal Engine and targeting the iOS and/or macOS platform, Unreal Engine’s sudden loss of support for iOS and macOS would create significant costs and difficult decisions.”
One major point in the lawsuit is that Apple is a walled garden, charging 30% sales tax for every transaction made on its platform. Apple has countered this stating that it isn’t any different to other platforms, such as the ones owned by Sony, Microsoft, and Nintendo, which all charge 30% too. Epic Games has argued it is different due to those companies not making much money on hardware sales, instead relying on software sales, as opposed to Apple making a substantial profit on every iOS device sold.
However, Yvonne Gonzales Rogers responded to the Epic Games‘ motion stating,
„Indeed, Sony, Nintendo and Microsoft all operate similar walled gardens or closed platform models as Apple, whereby the hardware, operating system, digital marketplace, and IAPs are all exclusive to the platform owner. As such, a final decision should be better informed regarding the impact of the walled garden model given the potential for significant and serious ramifications for Sony, Nintendo and Microsoft and their video game platforms.“
The result of this lawsuit would, without question, have huge ramifications for any platform, opening the possibility for any developer to use any platform to try and get their sales tax percentage cut. Or it could go the other way with the industry-changing completely and a lower percentage becoming the new standard. This is just the latest twist in the Epic Games vs Apple lawsuit and there will no doubt be many more to come before the lawsuit ends.