Epic’s feud with Apple continues with a new court document from Microsoft as they show support for the Fortnite developer.
In a statement of support for Epic, Kevin Gammill, Microsoft’s General Manager of Gaming Developer Experiences, stated the Unreal Engine was an important piece of game development for studios. The tool is also a provider of the “necessary graphics, rendering, physics, sound, networking and other technologies that enable them to build games that run on multiple platforms.” Fortnite is also among other apps tied to Apple’s App Store – something which complicates Epic’s removal from the service as their engine powers a significant chunk of mobile games for iOS.
Gammill added Microsoft was heavily partnered with Epic Games from using the Unreal Engine, while some of its games for iOS are under risk from updates and a lack of support.
“As a result, 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,” said Gammill, adding Apple’s decisions put Microsoft at a “substantial disadvantage.”
Microsoft and Xbox’s support for Epic Games is the latest push from game developers after Apple removed Fortnite earlier in August 2020. This sparked the game’s own #FreeFortnite campaign which spread awareness through in-game challenges and messages to support the developers. For Apple, this continued to be a violation of its store’s 30% revenue policy from all third-party developers putting their apps on their service. Apple also plans to cut Epic off from its iOS and Mac dev kits to prevent them from building games for their devices.
Epic continued to accuse Apple of its anti-competitive practices while the company continued to take a stance. Xbox head Phil Spencer also spoke out on Twitter and shared Microsoft’s letter of support.
The Unreal Engine runs deeper than iOS games which use the game graphics tool. The engine’s branding and use in larger console-quality games mean iOS apps including xCloud and the Game Pass are also affected – something Microsoft accuses Apple of blocking for cloud gaming.
Microsoft’s Project xCloud service for streaming games on iOS are currently put on hold due to Apple’s restrictions. According to Windows Central, the company stated its xCloud preview for iOS expired while “Apple stands alone as the only general purpose platform to deny consumers from cloud gaming and game subscription services like Xbox Game Pass.”
Many of Microsoft’s games, including Gears of War Series, are powered by Epic’s Unreal Engine. Its inclusion for Xbox’s Game Pass and xCloud services could become a limiting factor for subscribers looking to use their iPhones to stream the games.
“All games available in the Xbox Game Pass catalog are rated for content by independent industry ratings bodies such as the ESRB and regional equivalents. We are committed to finding a path to bring cloud gaming with Xbox Game Pass Ultimate to the iOS platform,” Microsoft added.