Another Tech Giant Joins the Game

Epic Games vs. Apple: Microsoft, and the Court Rules in Favor of Both...?

Fortnite
Microsoft Epic Games

Image credit: Epic Games

Microsoft has joined the court dispute between Apple and Epic Games and has filed a legal brief. This is intended to support the right of the Fortnite developer to continue to develop software for Mac and iOS as long as the case continues. The court has partially agreed with Epic Games, but its a partial victory, bad news for Fortnite fans.

Apple recently kicked the extremely popular game Fortnite from its App Store after Epic Games deliberately violated its policies in what seems to be in protest against the unfair rules. Epic has opposed what it calls a "monopoly" on the App Store - in particular, the 30% cut Apple's in-game purchasing requires. In addition to suing Apple, Epic, as part of a huge marketing push, distributed the #FreeFortnite on the Internet. The Fortnite community is called upon here to join the dispute.

In an escalation, Apple then said that it would withdraw Epic's access to developer tools on iOS and Mac. And now another tech giant has arrived: Microsoft.

FreeFortnite

Image Credit: Epic Games

Microsoft Sides With Epic Games

Microsoft now says in a Tweet published on Twitter that this would harm many third-party game developers. This is because Epic also owns the Unreal Engine - a tool widely used by developers from other studios to create games, virtual reality, and special effects in major television shows and movies.

Microsoft itself uses this technology.

Xbox CEO Phil Spencer tweeted:

The court brief goes into the detail:

"Epic's denial of access to Apple's SDK and other development tools will prevent Epic from supporting Unreal Engine on iOS and MacOS and will severely disadvantage Unreal Engine and those game developers who have built, build, and may build games on it (... ) If Unreal Engine cannot support games for iOS or macOS, Microsoft would have to choose whether to abandon its customers and potential customers on the iOS and macOS platforms or choose a different game engine when preparing to develop new games (...) In addition, this situation could split the player base of a game so that players playing on iOS or MacOS cannot play or communicate with friends or family members playing, playing, or communicating on other platforms."

However, Apple has already said that it applies the rules equally and will not make an exception for Epic as they do not feel it is right to put their business interests ahead of the policies that protect Apple's customers.

More Criticism of Apple's App Store

Microsoft has already criticized the conditions on the Apple App Store:

When it became clear that Apple would not allow the streaming of Xbox games to iPhones, Microsoft said that Apple was the only major platform that "denies consumers cloud games and game subscription services". Such services violated the rule that all games must be individually reviewed, Apple said.

Earlier this year, when Apple was involved in another high-profile dispute with an app developer over its policies, Microsoft president Brad Smith hinted at the company's disapproval.

He said regulators should have a "focused conversation" about app stores and the policies they enforce.

The enemy of my enemy is my friend? Why can't we all get along? Who let this Apple guy into the party?

The Court Rules and Blocks Apple's Removal of The Dev Tools, but not Fortnite.

Sorry, Fornite Mobile fans, you are stuck in the lobby and servers are down! The American Court Justices have spoken and Apple's ban on Fortnite stands.

Justice Rogers:
"The Court finds that with respect to Epic Games’ motion as to its games, including Fortnite, Epic Games has not yet demonstrated irreparable harm. The current predicament appears of its own making (Epic has) strategically chose to breach its agreements with Apple"

Not all is lost, but the war seems to have gone in the favor of Apple, at least Epic gets to keep some of its toys in the Apple Sandbox:

I am not inclined to grant relief with respect to the games, but I am inclined to grant relief with respect to the Unreal Engine. Epic Games and Apple are at liberty to litigate against each other, but their dispute should not create havoc to bystanders. (There Could be) potential significant damage to both the Unreal Engine platform itself, and to the gaming industry generally."

The Judge an apparent Sport's Ball fan comically adds to the situation by saying, "This is not something that is a slamdunk for Apple or for Epic Games." Rogers got one thing correct, Apple just dunked Fornite Mobile right into the recycle bin. It's anyone guess where this story goes now, will Epic play nice and hand over 30% of the V-bucks? Will Fortnite ever come back to the app store?

So now it seems all the technology giants are taking shots at Apple. We'll keep you up to date with the battle of the giants on EarlyGame. More news as well as tips and tricks can be found in our Fortnite section.

Paul Hayes

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