Epic judge will protect Unreal Engine — but not Fortnite, an issue of “irreparable harm”

The Verge:

Epic Games just won a temporary restraining order against Apple — at least in part. Effective immediately, Apple can’t retaliate against Epic Games by terminating the company’s Apple developer accounts or restricting use of Epic’s Unreal Engine by developers on Apple platforms.

That’s half of what was at issue. And, to the massive community of developers who depend on Unreal Engine, a critical ruling.

But in the same ruling, Judge Yvonne Gonzalez Rogers decided that Apple will not be required to bring Fortnite — which it had banned after Epic added an in-app payment system in violation of Apple’s rules — back to the App Store.

And that’s the other half. Impacting Fortnite fans, perhaps, but not much more than a tiny ripple in the ocean of iOS apps.

This battle is just beginning. A few more things to read:

  • The New York Times: To Fight Apple and Google’s Grip, Fortnite Creator Mounts a Crusade, a profile on Epic CEO Tim Sweeney (thus the “Battle of the Tims” tag you might encounter).

  • The legal order itself. Scroll down to the Analysis section on page 4. Key to the whole thing is the issue of “irreparable harm”. In a nutshell, the judge ruled that Fortnite would not suffer irreparable harm if it was blocked from the App Store. At the same time, the judge ruled that Unreal Engine would suffer irreparable harm if Epic’s developer account was terminated.

More to come. Much more.