Unreal Engine Staying in Apple App Store: Could Microsoft Be Thanked for That?

Part of a judges ruling is that the Unreal Engine can stay in the Apple app store for now. That may have come thanks to an assist from Microsoft.

The twists and turns of the Epic vs. Apple case continues to stack up. Earlier this month, Epic filed a lawsuit against Apple after Fortnite got kicked out of the app store. The reason Apple kicked Fortnite from the app store is because it was possible to bypass Apples payment system by purchasing V-Bucks directly from Epic via the app. Epic responded by saying that it is anti-competitive behavior on Apple’s part. Apple also tried to kick the Unreal Engine from the app store as well.

As we reported yesterday, a judge has ruled that the game Fortnite doesn’t have to be re-instated, however, the Unreal Engine can stay. It is certainly an interesting ruling to say the least. Now, we are learning that Microsoft may have had a hand in keeping the Unreal Engine in the Apple app store. From the BBC:

In an escalation, Apple then said it would pull Epic’s access to developer tools on iOS and Mac.

But Microsoft said this would damage a “critical technology” for many third-party game creators.

That is because Epic also owns the Unreal Engine – a tool widely used by developers from other studios to build games, virtual-reality VR experiences and special effects in major television shows and films.

Microsoft uses the technology itself.

This certainly adds an interesting layer of complexity to the case. One can definitely think of a whole host of reasons for why Microsoft may have given Epic the assist in the case. This can include self-preservation, competitive reasons, and PR reasons. At the very least, its a bit bizarre to picture Microsoft using the Unreal Engine via the Apple app store, though it’s more likely that the company is more motivated to help keep Epic afloat through its engine more than anything else.

If anything, though, it shows that this fight is much more complex than a simple fight between one developer and Apple. This is especially true with the Unreal Engine. It’s not unreasonable to anticipate that the court case could end up having the Unreal Engine hived off from the rest of the case and saying that Apple should just leave that one alone. Barring any further surprises, the case will likely focus on the game Fortnite and Apple. Quite the interesting tidbit to say the least.

Drew Wilson on Twitter: @icecube85 and Facebook.

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