Microsoft has filed a legal document to support Epic Games in its legal battle against Apple.
As detailed in the document by Microsoft's general manager for gaming experiences Kevin Gammill, the company backs the Fortnite creator as it battles to keep its Unreal Engine available to Mac and iOS developers.
Earlier this month, Epic created a new payment option for Fortnite players, which prevented Apple from taking its 30 per cent commission - a costly move, as the tech giant not only removed the battle royale, but might take action against the development software.
Gammill pointed out that it is not just Epic that will face repercussions from Apple's actions, but many developers that utilise the tools will suffer the consequences.
"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," said Gammill.
"Developing a game using different game engines for different platforms may be prohibitively expensive and difficult. In any event, it is not as cost-effective as using a game engine that supports different platforms. As a result, game creators, including Microsoft, that are preparing to develop a game targeted at multiple platforms generally choose game engines based both on the functionality they provide as well as their ability to support development for those platforms."
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
Creating a disadvantage
Gammill goes on to explain that Apple could cause massive damage to users of the Unreal Engine, going so far as to suggest that companies will face tough decisions "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."
Besides future projects, Apple could seriously harm ongoing projects, and already released games as developers will face difficulties when trying to update established titles. Furthermore, Gammill pointed out that it is not just developers that will suffer, but so will consumers, those who the games are created for.
"In addition, this situation could bifurcate a game's player base, such that gamers on iOS or macOS cannot play or communicate with friends or family who are playing on other platforms," said Gammill.
However, Apple appears to not be budging in its decision, as it believes that there is a simple solution - Epic must remove its new payment option. The American tech giant has gone so far as to say that the games firm "made a deliberate choice to cheat" the company after it was denied special treatment.
As a result, Epic's chief exec Tim Sweeney came forward with the emails he sent to Apple, showing that he did not request a deal for just his company. Instead, he asked that Apple "also make these options equally available to all iOS developers."
Following Fortnite's removal from the App Store, Epic Games filed a lawsuit. Not only that, but the company held a #FreeFortnite tournament on August 23rd, offering rewards that were openly anti-Apple.