UK court blocks Epic Games from contesting Apple’s Fortnite ban

The UK antitrust tribunal ruled on Monday that Epic Games, the creator of popular game Fortnite, will not be allowed to pursue its case against Apple Inc in the United Kingdom over its App Store payment system and control over app downloads.

The two companies have been at loggerheads since August, when the game maker tried to avoid Apple’s 30 per cent fee on the App Store by launching its own in-app payment system, which led to Apple’s subsequent ban of Fortnite from its store.

The UK tribunal said Epic’s suit against Alphabet Inc’s Google could move forward, but deemed that the United States would be a better forum for its case against Apple.

‘Epic will reconsider pursuing its case against Apple in the UK after the resolution of the US case,’ the video game company said in a statement in response to the tribunal’s ruling.

Apple and Google did not immediately respond to Reuters requests for comment.

In October, a federal judge in California ruled in an injunction request that Apple could bar the Fortnite game from its App Store but must not harm Epic’s developer tools business, which includes the ‘Unreal Engine’ software used by hundreds of other video games.

Epic Games founder and Chief Executive Tim Sweeney had previously said Apple’s control of its platform had tilted the level playing field.

The clash started when Fortnite announced the ‘Fortnite Mega Drop.’ Advertised as a way for players to save money when purchasing V-Bucks in the game, it gave users the option to buy through Apple’s payment processing system for the full price, or buy directly from Epic for a savings of up to 20 per cent.

Developers are banned from processing their own payments when users buy digital goods, although apps selling physical products like shoes are allowed. Epic’s inability to process its own payments or build a competing gaming store has long irked its CEO Tim Sweeney, who has called the 30 per cent cut Apple takes a ‘absolutely abhorrent’.


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