Microsoft says Apple’s move against ‘Fortnite’ creator would hurt its games

PHILO PHOTO: An upcoming stop to text next to Epic Games Fortnite sign at E3, the annual video game expo unveiling the latest in gaming software and hardware in Los Angeles, California, US, June 12, 2019. REUTERS / Mike Blake

(Reuters) – Microsoft Corp (MSFT.O) on Sunday said in a lawsuit that Apple Inc.’s (AAPL.O) threat to cut out the creator of “Fortnite” from Apple’s developers’ tools would hurt Microsoft’s gaming company, as well as other game developers.

The submission came in a dispute between Apple and Epic Games. Apple has removed the Epic titles from the App Store after the game maker broke the iPhone maker’s in-app payment rules.

Epic says that Apple has also threatened to delete its access to Apple tools needed to maintain ‘Unreal Engine’, software that many game developers have licensed to create better graphics. Microsoft said the move would hurt at least one of its own game titles called “Forza Street” that uses the engine for the iOS version of the game.

Kevin Gammill, Microsoft’s general manager of gaming developer experiences, said Microsoft has an “enterprise-wide” license for Unreal Engine and that Apple’s move would limit it and the ability of other gaming companies to make games with the technology for Macs and iPhones.

“If Unreal Engine can not support games for iOS or macOS, Microsoft would be required to choose between leaving its customers and potential customers on the iOS and macOS platforms or choosing a different game engine when preparing to develop new games , “wrote Gammill.

Nicholas Penwarden, vice president of engineering at Epic, said in the submission on Sunday that multiple Unreal Engine users – including at least one auto design company – have contacted the company with concerns that their projects will be disrupted.

Epic is seeking a court order to stop Apple terminating its developer accounts. Apple has said it will reverse its move if Epic re-submits a version of “Fortnite” that complies with its payment rules.

On Friday, Apple said in a statement that Epic had unilaterally decided to break its rules after following them for more than a decade, and Epic’s removal from the App Store called it a “self-inflicted wound.”

Report by Stephen Nellis in San Francisco; Edited by Chizu Nomiyama and Lisa Shumaker

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