Microsoft’s general manager of mobile player environments Kevin Gammill sent a statement to Epic’s court on Sunday. He did not write because he’s angry over Fortnite’s removal from the App Store. But he gave a unique court dispute involving Apple and Epic’s ripple impact.
What did Gammill say?
That’s because, besides “Fortnite,” Epic still creates the Unreal Engine tech series. It’s a collection of tools to build games, like the mobile iterations of “PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds” and “Forza Street.
Once Apple yanked “Fortnite” from the App Store, the firm terminated arrangements with Epic’s Developer Program effective August 28. Without access to Apple’s developer technology, Epic said it won’t release updates to the Unreal Engine on iOS or Mac. That means that any developer using the software would be unable to update their own games this year to support the new iOS and macOS versions.
In short: Epic losing exposure to Apple’s development network could impact several games on Apple’s App Store.
“Apple’s discontinuation of Epic’s ability to develop and support Unreal Engine for iOS or macOS will harm game creators and gamers,” Gammill wrote. He described Unreal Engine as “critical technology for numerous game creators including Microsoft.” The move to revoke Epic’s access, according to Gammill, could “harm already-launched iOS and macOS games built on Unreal Engine.”
The GM states that the engine is “important technology for various game developers, including [the gaming company].” He also says that it includes “the rendering, rending, physics, sound and other innovations that operate on several platforms.”
Of note, the gaming company did not release Gammill’s statement. The gaming company also did not respond to requests for clarification as of writing.
Here’s what happened
On August 13, Apple App Store and Google Play Store removed Fortnite from the list. Epic Games offered players the ability to circumvent the digital payment networks of the firms.
Instead of purchasing virtual money (“V-bucks”) in-game from Apple or Google, players could buy it directly from Epic — at a 20 percent discount. Apple and Google claimed the fix was a breach of the terms of service for every company with a device in the iTunes Store or Google Play store.
The two major mobile conglomerates responded by removing “Fortnite” from their respective digital storefronts. Epic Games, expecting as much, launched cases against another company – the first overt shots in Epic CEO Tim Sweeney’s continuing effort to reform how Apple’s App Store works.
In a statement last week, Apple said it “won’t allow an exception for Epic” to the App Store regulation. The rules require all software developers to use Apple’s payment mechanisms. “We don’t think it’s fair to place their commercial interests ahead of the rules that support our customers.”
Apple challenges Epic’s request for a provisional restraining order, and the first trial is scheduled for August 24.