The company behind the hugely popular game Fortnite is suing Google and Apple after being removed from their app stores.
A United Kingdom court dropped Epic Games’ suit against Apple and its request to make the tech giant reinstate its popular video game “Fortnite” into the App Store.
In the meantime, sorry, Apple users, you are still shut out from playing “Fortnite” with your friends who are blasting away on PlayStations and Xboxes, for instance.
The U.S., where Epic Games and Apple are headquartered, would be “the appropriate forum” for the cases to be tried, said Judge Justice Roth of the Competition Appeal Tribunal in a ruling Monday.
This legal battle, which began in August 2020 when Epic offered a direct payment method for Fortnite mobile players, spans the globe. Last week, Epic Games filed an antitrust complaint against Apple in the European Union. It has also filed a similar suit in Australia. Epic also filed suit against Google in August 2020 after “Fortnite” was removed from the Google Play store.
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The U.K. court ruled that portions of Epic’s suit against Google subsidiaries in the U.K. could move forward. But, in general, ruled that most of both cases should reside in the U.S. “While there may be acts in the UK, they flow directly from acts in the U.S. since in a digital world the territorial location of the ‘act’ is a somewhat anachronistic concept,” Roth wrote in his ruling.
Epic Games, in its complaint to the European Commission’s competition watchdog, accused Apple of blocking competitors and abusing its dominant position, in breach of EU rules.
“What’s at stake here is the very future of mobile platforms,” Epic Games CEO Tim Sweeney said in an online post. “We will not stand idly by and allow Apple to use its platform dominance to control what should be a level digital playing field.”
Apple countered, saying it introduced a payment feature that Apple did not review or approve, with the intention of violating app store guidelines that apply equally to every developer and are aimed at protecting customers.
“Their reckless behavior made pawns of customers, and we look forward to making this clear to the European Commission,” Apple said in a statement.
Loot boxes settled
In other legal action, Epic Games settled a class action suit involving players of “Rocket League” and “Fortnite Save The World” (a co-op version of the game, not the popular battle royale mode) who bought a random item “Crate” loot box before they were discontinued. The class action suit argued that the loot boxes were “predatory,” The Verge reported in 2019 when the case was filed.
Players who purchased one, starting in July 1, 2015, and until a date to be determined – the settlement is not yet final – will automatically get 1,000 Fortnite V-Bucks or 1,000 Rocket League Credits for each account used to acquire a random item loot box.
“Whether you were a fan of random item Loot Llamas or not, with preliminary approval for a class action settlement, we’re awarding 1,000 V-Bucks to anyone that purchased a random Loot Llama,” Epic Games said in a blog post. “While this settlement was for U.S. players only, we have decided to make this benefit available to players globally. There’s no action needed on your part, and you should receive your V-Bucks within the next few days.”
The proposed Settlement is not an admission of wrongdoing by Epic Games, and it denies that it violated the law, the company says on the settlement site. Epic Games has set aside up to $26.5 million in cash and other benefits to U.S.-based players to resolve the claims.
Players not wanting the credit can also submit a claim form to get a cash benefit on the settlement site.
Contributing: Associated Press
Follow Mike Snider on Twitter: @MikeSnider.
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