Epic versus Apple’s Fortnite dispute heads to court as trial begins

Epic versus Apple’s Fortnite dispute heads to court as trial begins
Ben Borthwick Updated on by

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The ongoing Apple versus Epic Games dispute has arrived in court as the trial between the two companies over battle royale hit Fortnite kicked off yesterday, and even on the first day there's been chaos and interesting revelations.

It's been a while since we last checked in, so to very briefly recap: Epic Games implemented an in-app store last August for Fortnite to bypass its 30% charges on the App Store. Apple responded by removing the game from said store and terminated its developer account. Epic responded by suing Apple (and publicly responding via a #FreeFortnite campaign) and accused them of running a monopoly, to which Apple later itself retaliated by way of a counter-suit.

The trial itself began last night, and resulted in immediate chaos when the public call line, that allows anyone to dial in to listen to proceedings, accidentally broadcasted the voices of the same public listening in for the first few minutes, which as The Verge reports resulted in 200 particpants hearing the noise of members of the public shouting down the phone requesting the judge to "Free Fortnite" and playing Travis Scott songs as well as advertising their YouTube channels.

Once things had settled down and normality was restored, Epic Games CEO Tim Sweeney briefed the court on Epic's business, with a lawyers asking questions on whether the Epic Games Store was profitable. He responded (as per The Verge's Adi Robertson on Twitter) saying that it was "Hundreds of millions of dollars short of being profitable" because of upfront costs, and said "We have a general expectation of becoming profitable within 3 or 4 years."

As part of the hearing several court documents were released, including details on the Epic Games Store's first 9 months of free game giveaways, and just how many were claimed and how much money developers made (credit Simon Carless on Twitter) to September 2019. It also came to light (again thanks to Carless) that Epic paid a whopping $146 million USD in advance for Borderlands 3's exclusivity for six months, but made $80 million USD of that back in just the first two weeks the game was on sale. 

The Epic Games versus Apple trial is expected to last three weeks, and if the first day is anything to go by we can probably expect a lot more revelations and information to come. We'll try and keep you abreast of any highlights and particularly newsworthy developments as proceedings continue.