Microsoft Sides With Epic Games Over Fortnite Vs. Apple Lawsuit
The past week has seen a legal feud brewing between publisher Epic Games and tech company Apple. The back-and-forth began when Epic made the decision to cut Apple out of the Fortnite pie, offering players the means to purchase V-bucks directly from Epic and avoid the App Store’s 30% cut off the top. As one might expect, Apple reacted by swiftly banning Fortnite from the iOS devices as well as announce its intent to cut off all development tools from Epic’s Unreal Engine. In the midst of this legal battle, Xbox parent company Microsoft has now stepped in and officially voiced its support for Epic Games.
Revealed on social media, Xbox head Phil Spencer confirmed Microsoft had contributed a statement in support of Epic Games. The document argues that Apple’s ban of the Unreal Engine would impact more than just the Fortnite publisher and would take integral tools away from many studios that rely on such technology to function. Kevin Gammill, the GM of Gaming Developer Experiences for Microsoft, spoke to this notion in the statement, saying such a boycott would place iOS and Mac devs at a “substantial disadvantage” and developing under a new engine would be “prohibitively expensive and difficult.”
Today we filed a statement in support of Epic’s request to keep access to the Apple SDK for its Unreal Engine. Ensuring that Epic has access to the latest Apple technology is the right thing for gamer developers & gamers https://t.co/72bLdDkvUx
— Phil Spencer (@XboxP3) August 23, 2020
Gammill added that if Unreal Engine is cut off from Apple products, Microsoft would be placed in the difficult position of either “abandoning its customers and potential customers on the iOS and macOS platforms” or “choosing a different game engine when preparing to develop new games.” The GM iterated that Apple’s expressed reluctance to work with Epic or the Unreal Engine has created an err of “uncertainty” around iOS and Mac, as developers would be “less likely” to “select Unreal Engine for their projects” or offer updates for titles already available on the App Store.
Apple’s discontinuation of Epic’s ability to develop and support Unreal Engine for iOS or macOS will harm game creators and gamers.”
As Epic Games has made a spectacle of its Apple feud with the #FreeFortnite hashtag, it’s likely the Mac-maker isn’t too willing to compromise over this issue. However, the involvement of a big company such as Microsoft may very well nudge the two to reconcile. With Apple set to close the window on the Unreal Engine on August 28th, it might be best for all parties to end this feud sooner rather than later. A win for Epic Games would keep the Unreal Engine chugging on iOS and Mac for the foreseeable future, but – if Epic had its way – it would also ease Apple’s restrictions for all developers, possibly even for projects rejected from the App Store.
What do you think? Are you surprised that a high-profile company like Microsoft would support Epic Games, or was it only a matter of time before publishers came to Epic’s defense? Do you think Apple will reconsider their position? Let us know in the comments below and be sure to follow Don’t Feed the Gamers on Twitter and Facebook to be informed of the latest gaming and entertainment news 24 hours a day! For more headlines recently featured on DFTG, check out these next few news stories:
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Phone-browsing Wikipedia in one hand and clutching his trusty controller in the other, the legendary Eric Hall spreads his wealth of knowledge as a writer for Don't Feed the Gamers. Be sure to catch his "Throwback Thursday" segment for a nostalgic look at trivia from the past.