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Microsoft has now filed its support for Epic in the court battle against Apple. Surprisingly, Microsoft did not declare its support for Epic in the case related to Fortnite’s removal from App Store. Instead, Microsoft is supporting Epic to prevent Apple from removing Unreal Engine support in Apple’s iOS and macOS 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
In response to Epic’s lawsuit related to Fortnite on App Store, Apple threatened to remove Unreal Engine on its platforms. Unreal Engine is a popular game engine used by thousands of games and apps on iOS and macOS. Without Unreal Engine support, all these games and apps should be rewritten in a different game engine, which is economically not possible for most developers.
“Apple’s discontinuation of Epic’s ability to develop and support Unreal Engine for iOS or macOS will harm game creators and gamers,” Microsoft mentioned in its court filing. Microsoft mentioned the following in its court filing.
For game creators in the later stages of development utilizing Unreal Engine and targeting the iOS and/or macOS platform, Unreal Engine’s sudden loss of support for iOS and macOS would create significant costs and difficult decisions. The creator would have significant sunk costs and lost time using Unreal Engine for game creation, and would have to choose between (a) starting development all over with a new game engine, (b) abandoning the iOS and macOS platforms, or (c) ceasing development entirely.
Apple’s removal of Unreal Engine’s ability to develop updates and improvements for iOS and macOS could also harm already-launched iOS and macOS games built on Unreal Engine. If the game engine can no longer develop updates that take advantage of new iOS or macOS features, fix software bugs, or patch security flaws, this will harm games that have already launched on iOS and macOS (and, in turn, harm gamers). 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.