Microsoft has stepped into the battle between Epic Games and Apple, filing a statement in support of the former and explaining that Apple's support of Epic's Unreal Engine is critical for gamers and developers.
The conflict between Epic and Apple began back in mid-August when Fortnite released an update that bypassed Apple (and Google's) in-app purchase rules, including a mandatory 30% fee on iOS. In return, Apple removed the game from the App Store, and the two companies have been biting back and forth ever since.
Now, according to Epic's legal filings, Apple is "planning to cut off the company's access to all development tools necessary to create software for Apple's platforms" on August 28th, "including for the Unreal Engine Epic offers to third-party developers, which Apple has never claimed violated any Apple policy" (thanks Android Police).
In response to this, Microsoft has stepped in by filing a statement in support of Epic Games, explaining that Unreal Engine tech is critical for numerous game creators including Microsoft, and that Apple denying Epic access to its SDK will put Unreal Engine and the developers that are using it at a significant disadvantage:
The statement (penned by General Manager of Gaming Developer Experiences Kevin Gammill) also goes on to say that if Unreal Engine couldn't support games for iOS or MacOS, Microsoft would be required to choose between abandoning its customers and potential customers on those platforms or opting for a different game engine, and that Unreal Engine's inability to develop updates for those platforms could harm already-launched titles moving forward.
"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. When game creators are planning development projects, which can last for years, it is important to have confidence that the chosen engine will continue to be available on and support all platforms on which the game creators plan to distribute their games."
"Apple’s discontinuation of Epic’s ability to develop and support Unreal Engine for iOS or macOS will harm game creators and gamers."
We highly recommend checking out Microsoft's full statement for even more insight on this matter. Let us know your thoughts on the situation in the comments below.