Billion-dollar slap fight: Microsoft side with Epic in legal dispute with Apple

Billion-dollar slap fight: Microsoft side with Epic in legal dispute with Apple

A new challenger has entered the arena.

The seemingly endless battle between Apple and Epic Games over the use of direct payment options in Fortnite has been escalating rapidly since day one, with Apple removing the game from the App Store and threatening to remove Epic from their Developer Program.

Microsoft has entered the fray to show support for Epic Games in their case against Apple. In a written statement from Microsoft general manager for gaming, Kevin Gammill, the company protests against Apple’s decision to cancel Epic’s developer account.

You may wonder why this concerns Microsoft but it does. If Epic cannot use Apple’s developer tools to adapt the Unreal Engine for iOS and macOS systems, literally no developers or publishers will be able to make games for Apple users.

"If Unreal Engine cannot support games for iOS or macOS, 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," the statement read.

Gammill continued, “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."

Unreal Engine is one of the best games engines on the market, there’s a reason nearly everyone uses it for their games, but it is highly unlikely that any publisher is going to dismiss Apple customers so they will need to look elsewhere for a game engine. Without Unreal, there could be a notable impact on the quality of titles being produced by developers without their own proprietary engines.

That is a problem for the average gamer and, more crucially, small-time developers who rely on Unreal for their livelihood.

Yet this is a problem of Epic’s making, they violated the agreement by adding a direct payment feature despite their request being denied, and Apple is well within their rights to revoke their membership.

Speaking personally, I do not care who relents on this. It is not my money at stake here, I just want them to deal with it before people beyond the sphere of billion-dollar monopolies start to suffer for this squabbling.

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