Microsoft has officially backed Epic Games in its ongoing legal battle with Apple regarding its App Store policies.
The company filed a statement saying that if Apple blocked Epic’s developer account, it would cause a significant issue for several game makers including Microsoft since the company would be unable to use Epic’s Unreal Engine.
The Unreal Engine is a set of technologies that provide a framework for creating three-dimensional graphics. Companies obtain a license from Epic to use the technology for a fee.
“Denying Epic access to Apple’s SDK and other development tools will prevent Epic from supporting Unreal Engine on iOS and macOS, and will place Unreal Engine and those game creators that have built, are building, and may build games on it at a substantial disadvantage,” Microsoft’s general manager for third-party developers on the Xbox, Kevin Gammill, stated in the filing.
Gammill went on to state that “Apple’s discontinuation of Epic’s ability to develop and support Unreal Engine for iOS or macOS will harm game creators and gamers.”
He noted that although there are other gaming engine options, they don’t have the same features or functionality as the Unreal Engine.
Phil Spencer, the head of Xbox, stated in a tweet that “ensuring that Epic has access to the latest Apple technology is the right thing for gamer developers & gamers.”
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
This legal filing from Microsoft comes as Epic has filed a new motion arguing that if Apple removes iOS support for the Unreal Engine, it would be unnecessarily punitive and would impact developers who aren’t involved in the case.
Tensions between the two companies arose on August 13th after Epic dodged Apple’s 30 percent app store fees with a new direct payment system in Fortnite. Apple responded by removing the game from the App Store.