Fortnite/Apple lawsuit could force changes to PlayStation and Xbox consoles

Fortnite still isn’t allowed back on the Apple store, but developments in the lawsuit suggest other platform holders may be affected.

A couple of weeks ago, the judge overseeing the legal battle between Epic Games and Apple indicated that it could be trialled by a jury.

But while said trial may not happen until July 2021 at the earliest, it’s been suggested that a final decision could have a serious impact on other platform holders, such as Sony, Microsoft, and Nintendo.

As a reminder, the lawsuit kicked off when Epic attempted to bypass Apple’s 30% fee on in-app purchases, which Apple deemed a violation – leading to it banning Fortnite from its app store.

Epic has argued that the 30% fee is excessive, with its CEO even calling it exploitative, but Judge Yvonne Gonzales Rogers pointed out in court documents that Apple’s ‘walled garden’ is no different than what Sony, Microsoft, and Nintendo offer.

‘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.’

However, Rogers also added that ‘… 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.’

How could these other companies be affected if they’re not involved with the lawsuit? Well, hypothetically, if a jury ruled in Epic’s favour, allowing it to set up its own store, that allowed it to receive 100% of the revenue, other developers would more than likely seek the same treatment.

The legal precedent would then make it much more difficult for Sony, Microsoft, and Nintendo to defend their systems – unless they can convince a judge and jury that they operate in a sufficiently different way to Apple.

Meanwhile, Rogers has denied Epic’s request to reinstate Fortnite onto the Apple store, though she did agree to make permanent the restraining order which prevents Apple from removing Unreal engine support.

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