By Wallace Witkowski
Videogame stocks rose on Friday after a federal judge ruled that Apple Inc. can no longer force app developers to use its payment system, allowing app developers to sidestep the large commissions that the tech giant collects.
The case was brought by Epic Games Inc., known for its “Fortnite” battle royale videogame, against Apple /zigman2/quotes/202934861/composite AAPL +0.75% a little over a year ago . While the Friday ruling allows app developers to collect revenue from in-app purchases directly, it did not declare Apple an antitrust monopolist.
That App Store sidestepping gave investors in videogame-related stocks reason to celebrate, although shares pared gains slightly by the close.
App-monetization company AppLovin Inc. /zigman2/quotes/226004863/composite APP +1.16% led the charge in Friday’s rally, with shares closing 8.9% higher at $77.38. In August, the company said Apple’s crackdown on ad data had a “muted” effect on its business and opted not to raise its outlook following a strong quarter.
Playtika Holding Corp. /zigman2/quotes/208028170/composite PLTK +0.64% shares rose 6.1% to close at $28.26. Recently, Playtika said it was acquiring design entertainment company Reworks Oy in a deal valued up to $600 million .
Shares of Unity Software Inc. /zigman2/quotes/221035391/composite U -0.25% , another player in the app-monetization business and also in the game-engine space, finished up 0.7% at $135.10. In August, analysts had praised Unity’s ability to work around Apple’s attempts to deny user data to app developers. Meanwhile, shares of Roblox Holding Corp. /zigman2/quotes/223883423/composite RBLX +3.00% rose 1.8% to close at $87.88.
Electronic Arts Inc. /zigman2/quotes/206954087/composite EA -0.71% and Activision Blizzard Inc. /zigman2/quotes/200717283/composite ATVI +0.38% both finished around 2% higher, while Zynga Inc. /zigman2/quotes/209662259/composite ZNGA -2.26% shares surged 6.3%.
More on the change: Apple loosens App Store payment rules for ‘reader’ apps in another concession to developers
Trading at a 2% loss Friday was Take-Two Interactive Inc. /zigman2/quotes/204008930/composite TTWO +0.70% , which late Thursday announced a four-month delay of new versions of its Grand Theft Auto franchise.
In the broader market, the S&P 500 index /zigman2/quotes/210599714/realtime SPX +0.75% declined 0.8% and the tech-heavy Nasdaq Composite Index /zigman2/quotes/210598365/realtime COMP +0.50% finished down 0.9%, while the iShares Expanded Tech-Software Sector ETF /zigman2/quotes/201870252/composite IGV +0.26% shed 0.7%.