Microsoft Sides With Epic (to Save Unreal Engine) in the Looming App Store Wars

Fortnite screenshot

Epic, the maker of worldwide gaming sensation Fortnite, and Apple, a company that recently passed $2 trillion in value, are fighting. The reasons are complicated, but to boil it down, Epic wants to pay less of a tithe to Apple for the skins kids buy on Fortnite via the App Store. Now Microsoft, a veteran of monopoly arguments, is wading in.

One of the more recent developments in the exhausting corporate pissing contest is this: as a result of looming Epic lawsuits, Apple has threatened to withhold Epic’s access to iOS developer tools for the Unreal Engine. Unreal powers a significant chunk of video games, on PCs, consoles, and mobile, and cutting off said access would be a legitimate disaster for a lot of developers who rely on it.

It’s Apple’s nuclear option, and others are taking notice. Microsoft, itself a prolific game publisher these days, is siding with Epic. Microsoft’s General Manager of Gaming Developer Experiences G Kevin Gammill filed a motion in support of Epic in its lawsuit, citing the Unreal Engine as “critical technology for numerous game creators.”

“…Epic’s Unreal Engine is one of the most popular third-party game engines available to game creators, and in Microsoft’s view there are very few other options available for creators to license with as many features and as much functionality as Unreal
Engine across multiple platforms, including iOS,” Gammill said in his official filing of support.

It’s worth noting that Microsoft’s interest is purely in Unreal, and the company didn’t have anything to say about Epic’s issues with the 70/30 split model…likely because Microsoft uses it itself on the Xbox and Windows Store. Microsoft’s support doesn’t have any legal weight, but it may help to sway a judge, convincing them to grant a temporary hold on Apple’s plan to withdraw Epic’s access to support Unreal on iOS later this week.

Even if it doesn’t, Microsoft jumping into the pool in this fight is an indication that it’s going to go on for a long time.

Source: The Verge

Michael Crider Michael Crider
Michael Crider has been writing about computers, phones, video games, and general nerdy things on the internet for ten years. He’s never happier than when he’s tinkering with his home-built desktop or soldering a new keyboard. Read Full Bio »

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