A preliminary hearing regarding the removal of Fortnite from the App Store took place yesterday.
Judge Yvonne Gonzalez Rogers of the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California said the case should be tried by a jury, and the trial is unlikely to take place prior to July 2021.
She was skeptical about Epic’s tactics.
“There are people in the public who consider you guys heroes for what you did, but it’s still not honest,” said the judge as reported by Kif Leswing, a technology reporter for CNBC. “You were not forthright. You were told you could not have that [direct payments system] and you did. It’s pretty simple.”
The judge also was not convinced that Epic’s antitrust rhetoric is valid.
Walled gardens have existed for decades. Nintendo has had a walled garden. Sony has had a walled garden. Microsoft has had a walled garden. What Apple’s doing is not much different… It’s hard to ignore the economics of the industry, which is what you’re asking me to do.
Given this reaction, it remains unlikely that the judge will give Epic a preliminary injunction to allow Fortnite on the App Store any time soon.