The trial between Epic Games and Apple will start on May 3rd, 2021. According to MacRumors, the trial date was set by US District Court Northern California Judge Yvonne Gonzalez following a management conference. The trial follows a drawn-out battle between the two companies that's been going on since August. Epic Games had long decried Apple and Google's cut on in-app purchases as a form of "payment monopolies" but things came to a breaking point when Epic Games released an update for Fortnite that violated Apple's terms of service. The game was removed from the App Store as a result, prompting Epic's current lawsuit.
The trial will apparently be held in-person, as Judge Gonzalez believes it's in the interest of the public. That could change based on the status of the coronavirus pandemic, but the court is looking to put several safety measures in place. These include distancing in the courtroom, limited occupancy, and a requirement for those involved in the trial to quarantine for two weeks after the trial date. Health accommodations for some witnesses will be considered. If the trial is forced to switch to an online format, it will still be held the same date. Judge Gonzalez expects it to last for two to three weeks, but Epic Games is pushing for a longer trial, lasting four to five. An exact duration has not been set.
It will be interesting to see how the trial plays out. Apple has argued that its cut for in-app purchases is fair, and offers protection for users. Epic Games was also clearly aware that it was violating the company's terms of service when it released the update; hours after Apple announced the game's removal, Epic released a trailer parodying Apple's famous "1984" Super Bowl ad, painting the company as an Orwellian villain. Should Epic Games win the lawsuit, it could have a dramatic impact on the way that games appear on the App Store and other digital marketplaces.
With a trial date now set, it seems that more details will come sooner, rather than later. For now, fans of Fortnite will just have to see how things play out between the two companies.
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