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Microsoft sides with Epic Games in legal fight against Apple

Microsoft sides with Epic Games in legal fight against Apple

The App Store forces applications and games on it to use its exclusive in-app payment system


The legal battle between Epic Games and Apple has become the subject for perhaps the overall future of mobile gaming. The issue is not just limited to Fortnite, but it is much larger than that, especially with the recent escalations that have called for the intervention of additional major companies such as Microsoft, which has publicly announced its support for Epic Games.

To clarify, the main points in the case are as follows:

• The App Store forces applications and games on it to use its exclusive in-app payment system, and charges a 30 per commission on all payments.

• Epic Games, not satisfied with the arrangement for its popular game Fortnite Battle Royale, violated those terms of the store.

• Fortnite allows players to buy through the store or directly from the company itself at a reduced price of about 20 per cent, contrary to the terms of the app store.

• Apple has, expectedly, removed Fortnite from its App Store.

• Epic Games filed a lawsuit against Apple accusing it of monopoly and imposing anti-competitive policies with regards to its commissions on transactions in the App Store.

• Apple responded by threatening to block developer accounts for Epic Games and ban the use of the developer package to update the hugely popular Unreal Engine.

The threat to block Unreal Engine updates could be disastrous. This game engine is widely used in many major games including Mortal Kombat and PUBG Mobile, and of course Fortnite Battle Royale.

In the event that the ban is implemented, many gaming companies will be forced to choose from between two options: either abandon publishing games on Apple platforms, which harms gamers and game developers, or abandoning Unreal Engine, which is a very expensive option and is not an option available to many developers.

The support from Microsoft was very clear in documents that the company submitted to the court and included important contentions, perhaps the most prominent of which are:

“In the event that the Unreal Engine is not able to support games on iOS and macOS, Microsoft will have to choose between abandoning its existing and potential customers on iOS and macOS platforms or choosing a new game engine when developing a new game.”

Microsoft’s latest position comes at a time when it is in the middle of major disputes with Apple.

The point of contention is not limited to the competition between the two companies, but also includes Apple’s ban on launching the xCloud platform on iOS.

While the move to ban the Fortnite game and remove it from the App Store appears to be justified to some people because Fortnite violated the terms of the store, Apple’s decision to ban the Unreal Engine is an unusual step and will have serious ramifications for players and development studios.

This story originally appeared on MENA Tech

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