In an interesting turn of events in the Apple vs Epic Games legal debacle, Microsoft and Xbox have filed official support of Epic’s access to Apple platforms such as iOS and Mac despite transgressions which pushed Apple to cut off all cooperation with Epic Games. Microsoft’s reasoning includes a vested interest in keeping development of the Unreal Engine moving forward for the sake of game developers who would be affected on Apple platforms.
Microsoft officially filed its support of Epic Games access to Apple’s software development kit (SDK), as revealed by Xbox lead Phil Spencer via his personal Twitter on August 23, 2020. In the legal document provided, Microsoft argues that the stunted development of Unreal Engine presented by blocking Epic’s access to further development of the engine on iOS and Mac platforms presents a serious risk to game developers working with UE on Apple platforms. In particular, Microsoft’s letter makes mention of Forza Street, which utilizes Unreal Engine, and of which its development would be stunted by Apple’s current actions against Epic Games.
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
Microsoft argues that many developers, including its own, will be highly and adversely affected by Apple’s restrictions against Epic Games and particularly the Unreal Engine on Apple platforms, as explained in the following excerpt:
As mentioned in the case of Forza Street, which launched on mobile devices earlier this year and operates on Unreal Engine, Microsoft’s concern isn’t wholly altruistic. The company has an investment in the continued availability and development of Unreal Engine on iOS and Mac, but certainly Microsoft also raises a valid point of just how many mobile developers would be affected by Unreal Engine’s stunted growth on Apple platforms thanks to the recent legal issues between Epic and Apple.
Time will tell if Microsoft’s involvement in the matter can help sway Apple’s decisions against Epic regarding blockage of Epic Products from Apple platforms, but Microsoft’s support also helps to clarify just how dire the situation could truly be in Apple remains adamant on its decision. Stay tuned as we continue to follow this story for further news and updates.