Microsoft has filed a statement “in support of Epic’s request to keep access to the Apple SDK for its Unreal Engine.” Microsoft believes that Epic having access to the latest Apple technology is “the right thing for gamer developers & gamers.”
Head of Xbox Phil Spencer shared the filing on Twitter, which was a declaration by Kevin Gammill, the general manager of gaming developer experiences for Microsoft, that describes how harmful this potential move by Apple could be for Microsoft and the gaming industry as a whole.
Gammill’s main point stems from the fact that Epic Games’ Unreal Engine is “critical technology for numerous game creators including Microsoft.” While there are many studios who develop their own game engines, Unreal Engine remains one of the top choices for those who don’t have the resources or capabilities to do so.
In Microsoft’s view, there are very few other options for game engines that offer “as many functionality as Unreal Engine across multiple platforms, including iOS.”
Furthermore, Microsoft has an “enterprise-wide, multi-year Unreal Engine license agreement and has invested significant resources and engineer time working with and customizing Unreal Engine for its own games on PC, Xbox consoles, and mobile devices (including iOS devices).”
This is the case for other developers in the gaming industry, and if Apple were to deny Epic access to Apple’s SDK and other development tools, it would “place Unreal Engine and those game creators that have built, are building, and may build games on it at a substantial disadvantage.”
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Game development is a multi-year process in many cases, so those who chose to develop a game for iOS on Unreal Engine may be put in an unfortunate situation if Apple does go through with denying Epic its SDK.
This move, according to Microsoft, would also harm those developers who have already released Unreal Engine games on iOS, as there would be no future ability to develop updates and improvements for iOS and macOS.
If this were to go through, many developers would have to choose between “(a) starting development all over with a new game engine, (b) abandoning the iOS and macOS platforms, or ceasing development entirely.”
This whole battle between Epic Games and Apple and Google began when Epic altered the price of Fortnite V-Bucks and implemented a new direct payment system in response to Apple and Google’s “exorbitant” app store fees.”
Fortnite was removed from both the Apple App Store and Google Play Store, and Epic filed a complaint against both companies.
In the latest move, following Epic parodying Apple’s 1984 commercial in-game, Fortnite will be starting its #FreeFortnite cup today that will be one of the last times all platforms may be able to play together. This is because when Fortnite’s Chapter 2 – Season 4 launches on August 27, players on iOS devices will have no way to update the game if these companies don’t come to an agreement.
Microsoft has also had issues with Apple in the past, as it won’t currently be able to launch its Xbox Game Pass app on Apple devices, mostly due to Microsoft having to “comply with App Store policies.”
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