Microsoft has now entered the Apple v. Epic Games fray, throwing their weight behind the Fortnite developer as Apple prepares to cut off developer access to the Unreal Engine at the end of August.
Apple announced on August 17 that they would be cutting off Epic Games access to their iOS and Mac developer accounts at the end of the month amid the ongoing lawsuit over Fortnite transactions.
This would effectively stop Epic from updating the Unreal Engine, which they own and run, for use on Apple operating systems.
Developers that use the system – including Microsoft – would end up being high and dry as a result, so the tech giant submitted an official statement affirming their support for Epic.
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
Microsoft’s Xbox lead Phil Spencer explained that they had filed the statement in support of Epic because: “Ensuring that Epic has access to the latest Apple technology is the right thing for game developers and gamers.”
The company has plenty of reasons for supporting the company and the Unreal Engine, since many of their games available on iOS and Mac use it, like Forza Street, for example.
“If Unreal Engine cannot support games for iOS or macOS,” the statement clarifies. “Microsoft would be required to choose between abandoning its customers and potential customers on the iOS and macOS platforms or choosing a different game engine when preparing to develop new games.”
“Even uncertainty about the Unreal Engine’s ability to continue supporting iOS and macOS will make it less likely for Microsoft (and, I believe, other game creators) to select Unreal Engine for their projects,” it continues, which could be a look at things to come if Apple does go on and remove Epic’s dev accounts.
So far, Apple has shown no sign of backing down from its end of August deadline, and it’s unknown if the courts will intervene to stop them either, even with Microsoft’s latest actions supporting Epic in what has escalated into much more than just a lawsuit over in-game transactions.