Epic Games, the studio behind the megapopular game Fortnite, alleges in a new court filing that tech giant Apple is holding its Unreal gaming engine “hostage” by threatening to cut off Epic’s developer tool access. Thousands of other developers in video games and entertainment rely on the Unreal engine to produce games and computer animation.
The Verge reports that Epic Games has alleged in a new filing on Sunday that Apple is threatening an entire ecosystem of game developers in response to Epic’s lawsuit against Apple over the removal of Fortnite from Apple’s App Store. The new motion focuses on Apple’s threat to revoke access to the Unreal Engine as part of Epic’s loss of developer privileges.
Epic alleges that removing support for the Unreal Engine would be unnecessarily punitive and would affect developers who have built on their games on Epic’s engine but have no direct link to the case. The motion states: “The breadth of Apple’s retaliation is itself an unlawful effort to maintain its monopoly and chill any action by others who might dare oppose Apple.”
The filing comes shortly after tech giant Microsoft expressed its support for Epic’s motion, emphasizing the negative effect of Apple revoking Epic’s access to developer tools. Any developer currently using the Unreal Engine would be unable to patch security flaws or issue bug fixes once the access was revoked. This would halt support for a number of games, including Microsoft’s Forza.
Kevin Gammill, Microsoft’s general manager for third-party developers on the Xbox, commented: “Denying Epic access to Apple’s SDK and other development tools will 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.”
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
Apple has responded to Epic’s lawsuit, asking that the court deny Epic’s motion. Apple alleges that Epic created a false “emergency” by accepteing direct payment through Fortnite, circumventing Apple’s payment processor which takes a 30 percent cut of in-app purchases.
“Developers who work to deceive Apple, as Epic has done here, are terminated,” the court filing states,. The filing adds that developers circumvent Apple’s payment processor, as Epic did, “it is the same as if a customer leaves an Apple retail store without paying for shoplifted product: Apple does not get paid.”
Lucas Nolan is a reporter for Breitbart News covering issues of free speech and online censorship. Follow him on Twitter @LucasNolan or contact via secure email at the address firstname.lastname@example.org