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Epic Games vs. Apple trial date set for May 3, 2021

Epic Games and Apple are set to hit the courtroom on May 3, 2021.

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The battle between the tech giants of Epic Games and Apple wages on as a trial date has been set for May 3, 2021. The United States District Court of the Northern District of California is set to hear the arguments starting at 8:30 AM PST on that date.

The trial date comes after the most recent hearing between Epic and Apple, which had many onlookers suspecting that a jury trial would take place in July of 2021. Instead, the court scheduled a bench trial for the previous month.

Several pre-trial dates are expected to accompany the final May 3 date, so we could hear more news about how the court is leaning – although nothing will be set in stone until May 2021, at least.

With a date set, we now know the first time that we could hear concrete news as to whether or not iOS players will be able to play Fortnite. So far, the court hasn’t been too sympathetic to Epic’s case after the way they handled it.

Epic knowingly circumvented the conditions of the Google Play Store and App Store when they allowed players to buy V-Bucks directly from the source. The former company knew that Apple and Google would take action, and were prepared to retaliate with legislation. The judge presiding over the matter sees this and doesn’t appear to respect the move.

Unfortunately for iOS Fortnite players, this news means that we’re waiting another seven months for news on when the game will be available, again. Sony and Microsoft may end up being the real winners here, as displaced mobile players pick up their new consoles to play their favorite game.

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Chad Mustard explains why we needed a new Fortnite map

Donald Mustard’s brother, Chad Mustard, discussed why Fortnite needed a new map from a game development standpoint.

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Dedicated Fortnite fans follow Donald Mustard on social media for hints about the future of the game. The Worldwide Creative Director of Epic Games loves to tweet out cryptic teasers about what the developers will be bringing to Fortnite in the future – many of which are impossible to decipher until they come to fruition.

Of course, teasing future seasons of Fortnite is only what Donald Mustard does for fun. When he’s on the clock, he’s steering the Fortnite ship and making decisions on where the game should go. Most players consider him to be the brain behind Fortnite’s ever-evolving world – whether this is entirely true or not.

Donald Mustard has a brother named Chad Mustard, who hosts a YouTube channel that is mostly dedicated to making Fortnite content, as you might expect. Recently, the latter sat down with fellow Fortnite YouTuber, I Talk Fortnite, to discuss several topics related to the game.

The two had a long and detailed conversation – most of which had to do with Creative Mode, which is the primary focus of the ‘Mustard Plays’ YouTube channel. Towards the end of the interview, I Talk Fortnite brought up the old Fortnite map and old graphics of the game. Mustard opened up a bit, here, explaining why Fortnite needed a new map.

“Here’s the problem with the old map,” Mustard began, “the old map was made in, like, a few weeks. Battle Royale was a test, and they were like, ‘hey, let’s put this together and figure out if this will work in our Fortnite system.”

As Mustard explained, Epic weren’t prepared for the success that Battle Royale brought to Fortnite. They wanted to use the exposure and revenue to expand the game, but the old map limited them.

“They can’t do things like water, you can’t swim, you can’t do dynamic things with mountains,” Mustard said when talking about the old Fortnite map. “This new map was built to fit all of their systems so that they can do more things – have more vehicles; systems like swimming or weather patterns … you could not do that on the old map and with the old graphics. That’s why they had to switch to a new map.”

(Topic starts at 2:05:35)

In essence, Chad Mustard explained that the game outgrew the restraints of the original Fortnite map. Epic brought us a new map that could take us into the future – what we’re playing now – and beyond; experimenting with elements that we haven’t even seen yet.

Will we ever go back the old Fortnite map? In our opinion, Epic will release it as a novelty at some point. If Mustard is correct, however, the future of Fortnite is the exclusive property of the Chapter 2 map and any other creation that comes out of it.

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Fortnite won’t come back to the Apple app store until at least next year

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The judge in the Apple vs Epic Games case has prevented the app store from blocking Unreal Engine games, but Apple won’t be forced to put Fortnite back.

Judge Yvonne Gonzales Rogers denied Epic’s preliminary injuction that would force Apple to put Fortnite back on the app store while the case goes on.

However, the judge did grant their other injuction, which stops Apple from banning apps made with Unreal Engine, which Epic owns and makes. You can see the full decision here.

That means, that unless Epic decides to remove it’s direct payment method for V-Bucks, which started this whole legal battle, we won’t see Fortnite back on iOS devices. Atleast, until the trial is over.

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The decision to keep Unreal Engine protected though, is to stop the dispute between Apple and Epic creating havoc for “bystanders” – aka other developers not involved in the litigation, who just happen to use Unreal Engine.

In a statement, Epic said: “Epic Games is grateful that Apple will continue to be barred from retaliating against Unreal Engine and our game development customers as the litigation continues. We will continue to develop for iOS and Mac under the court’s protection and we will pursue all avenues to end Apple’s anti-competitive behavior.”

Apple, on the other hand, said: “We’re grateful the court recognized that Epic’s actions were not in the best interests of its own customers and that any problems they may have encountered were of their own making when they breached their agreement.”

The trial will commence in May, 2021, when some sort of resolution to this case will hopefully be resolved. Until then, Fortnite won’t be on iPhones or iPads – that much is certain.

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Will Fortnite be banned in the US after Tencent investigation?

Epic Games has received a letter from the Committee on Foreign Investment involving their investor, Tencent. What does this mean for Fortnite?

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News has been swirling about the potential ban of TikTok in the United States, recently. Banning the biggest app in the world not only has implications for the millions of users but also for other companies that have attracted similar scrutiny from the US government. That ban has recently been put on hold, but it still could be coming later this week.

Namely, the Chinese technology company, Tencent, is under investigation by the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States. Tencent is one of the largest gaming companies in the world and boasts ownership of Riot Games and a 40% stake in Epic Games.

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A recent report from Bloomberg stated that Epic and Riot – among other companies – have received letters requesting them to turn over information about their security protocols, including how they handle the personal data of their US-based customers.

Epic Games is an American Company, but Tencent has a large stake in them. Epic may have access to the personal data of their customers, and the US government is concerned about what they’re doing with it. In China, companies and the government aren’t as separated as they are in the US and other countries.

So, what does this mean for Fortnite? Well, it’s too soon to be 100% sure. We’ve seen some outlets waffling over whether or not Fortnite will face a ban, similar to what we’re seeing with TikTok. We’re no experts, but we don’t see this happening.

Tencent has a minority stake in Fortnite. At most, we expect them to be forced to sell their stake in the developer and move on. It might be more tricky with companies like Riot Games, where Tencent owns a controlling stake. Fortnite, however, should be safe.

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