In response to the lawsuit by Epic Games, Apple has effectively held the Unreal Engine hostage. The iPhone maker has threatened to lock Epic out of its dev tools, which includes those related to the Unreal Engine which other devs make use of. Because of this, the makers of Fortnite has found itself another ally, in the form of Microsoft.
Microsoft’s general manager for third-party developers on Xbox Kevin Gammill issued a statement regarding the matter. In it, he said that the blocking of Epic Games from Apple’s dev tools “will place Unreal Engine and those game creators that have built, are building, and may build games on it at a substantial disadvantage”.
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
The threat of removing Epic Games’ access to dev tools is quite a big deal. After all, many devs in addition to Microsoft makes use of the Unreal Engine for apps on iOS. Epic losing access to dev tools means the Unreal Engine can’t be updated. And you can imagine the kind of problems that can arise.
Either way, Microsoft throwing itself behind Epic Games is good news for the latter. But it remains to be seen if that’s enough to make a difference in the current legal battle behind the makers of Fortnite and the iPhone.
(Source: Phil Spencer / Twitter)