In the recently started legal battle between American tech giant Apple and game developer Epic Games, Microsoft has sought to lend its support to the game maker.
Last week, the hugely popular game ‘Fortnite’ of Epic Games was removed from its app store by Apple over charges that it had deliberately violated Apple’s policies for the app store.
At that time, Apple had also threatened to take down Epic’s access to developer tools on iOS and Mac
However, according to Microsoft, this action by Apple would damage a “critical technology” for many third-party game creators.
The reason for this is the Unreal Engine, owned by Epic and which is a tool that is widely used by developers from other studios to create games as well as virtual-reality VR experiences and special effects that are used in major television shows and films.
Microsoft itself uses the technology.
“Ensuring that Epic has access to the latest Apple technology is the right thing for game developers and gamers,” tweeted Xbox head Phil Spencer.
Epic has alleged of Apple setting up a a “monopoly” in the App Store in terms of the 30 per cent commission that the iPhone maker takes from all in game purchases made through the app store.
Last week when Epic Games decided to violate the rule of Apple’s app store and signposted players to a discount available away from the app, the game maker already possessed legal documentation and was prepared with a huge marketing push to follow up possible action against it by Apple.
By preventing access to Epic to Apple’s developer tools, it would “prevent Epic from supporting Unreal Engine on iOS and macOS, and will place Unreal Engine and those game creators that have built, are building, and may build games on it at a substantial disadvantage”, Microsoft said. “Apple’s discontinuation of Epic’s ability to develop and support Unreal Engine for iOS or macOS will harm game creators and gamers,” it added.
In its defense, Apple has said that the rules of the app store is applied by it and that it “won’t make an exception for Epic because we don’t think it’s right to put their business interests ahead of the guidelines that protect our customers”.
Apple’s App Store terms have previously criticized by Microsoft.
After it had become clear to Microsoft that streaming of Xbox games on iPhones would not be allowed by Apple, Microsoft had said that Apple was the only major platform to “deny consumers from cloud gaming and game subscription services”.
And earlier this year, during another high-profile stand-off between Apple and an app developer over its app store policies, Microsoft’s president, Brad Smith, had clearly signaled the disapproval of Apple’s policies.
A “focused conversation” about app stores and the rules that are enforced there should be considered by regulators, he said.
But the Windows and Xbox stores that are owned and run by Microsoft also charges a commission of between 15 per cent and 30 per cent of the software sales, depending on the platform, to its developer agreement.
(Adapted from BBC.com)