Microsoft Supports Epic Games, Says Apple Blocking Access to Unreal Engine Would Harm Game Creators

Fortnite creator Epic Games has argued that Apple's plan to terminate its Developer Program membership would be "overbroad retaliation" and "an unlawful effort to maintain its monopoly and chill any action by others who might dare oppose Apple."


Earlier this month, Epic Games strategically violated Apple's rules regarding in-app purchases by introducing its own direct payment option for in-game currency in its hit game Fortnite on iOS. Apple promptly removed Fortnite from the App Store and subsequently informed Epic Games that its Developer Program membership would be terminated within two weeks unless it resubmits Fortnite without the direct payment option.

By having its Developer Program membership terminated, Epic Games would not only lose its ability to develop Fortnite for iOS, but also its popular game engine Unreal Engine for iOS and macOS, which thousands of developers rely on for their games.

In a court filing [PDF] today, Epic Games said that multiple Unreal Engine licensees have contacted the company "expressing grave concern over Apple's actions and its impact on their iOS and macOS-bound projects," including Microsoft.

In a declaration in support of Epic Games [PDF], Microsoft gaming executive Kevin Gammill wrote that "Apple's discontinuation of Epic's ability to develop and support Unreal Engine for iOS or macOS will harm game creators and gamers." Specifically, Gammill said that games utilizing Unreal Engine will be put at a "substantial disadvantage," citing Microsoft's own racing game Forza Street for iPhone and iPad as an example.

Apple has argued that Epic Games committed "self-inflicted wounds" by intentionally violating its rules, noting that it could have proceeded with its lawsuit without introducing a direct payment option in the Fortnite app. Apple has also said that it would be happy to have Fortnite back on the App Store if Epic Games addresses the violations.

A hearing related to Epic Games' request for a preliminary injunction, which would force Apple to put Fortnite back on the App Store during the legal proceedings, is set for tomorrow at 3:00 p.m. Pacific Time in California court.

Top Rated Comments

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5 weeks ago


Apple has to lose this. The conditions are daylight robbery. I find the epic promo video amazingly valid.
Back then Apple opposed MS as being the bully and now it is the same but Apple is the bully.
Hahahaha, how things change.

Well, I'm a small independent developer and I disagree. The 30% is fair for what is offered from Apple's side: tax documentation, billing arrangements in different countries, visibility on the App Store, detailed metrics on usage, and more...

I dislike how 'independent developers' are OK with this until they suddenly become huge companies with million dollar budgets (and profits) - then it's suddenly 'unfair' because what they're paying Apple now amounts to millions of dollars (even though it's still the same 15/30%). It's disgusting actually, and I'll be really annoyed if the big developers pay less proportionally than the smaller ones - that's really unfair (you know, like the US tax system... great model that).
Score: 113 Votes (Like | Disagree)
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5 weeks ago
Easy fix: Epic revert their change. Done. Don't put this on Apple.
Score: 59 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Avatar
5 weeks ago
Epic games isn’t some white knight trying to save consumers. They simply want to gain market share with their store and have tried multiple strategies to do that. What should be regulated is the gambling aspect that has generated billions of dollars off of children.
Score: 54 Votes (Like | Disagree)
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5 weeks ago
Lol I'm sure Microsoft will be singing a different tune when Epic decides to offer an alternate payment method and/or store on Xbox.
Score: 49 Votes (Like | Disagree)
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5 weeks ago
Does this mean Microsoft is lowering the 30% they get via the Xbox marketplace?
Score: 46 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Avatar
5 weeks ago
Having MS, a company whose stores no longer exist, telling someone with a sustainable store operation, how they should do business, is rich.
Score: 37 Votes (Like | Disagree)

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