The brewing clash between Epic Games and Apple now has more and more companies involved. Through a declaration filed on Sunday, tech giant Microsoft spoke in support of Epic Games.
Microsoft elaborated on how Apple blocking Epic Games' developer account could be devastating for the gaming industry. Its potential ban could also see Fortnite being removed from the app stores.
The problem intensifies as it's the Unreal Engine at question here.
The Unreal Engine, a type of gaming engine, is a widely used set of technologies that provides a framework for the creation of three dimensional graphics. Epic licenses the engine to companies that use the technology for a fee.
Apple banning Epic Games' developer account means cutting off access to this necessary tool. The Unreal Engine is critical in developing new games.
"If Unreal Engine cannot support games for iOS or macOS, Microsoft would be required to choose between abandoning its customers and potential customers on the iOS and macOS platforms or choosing a different game engine when preparing to develop new games," Kevin Gammill, Microsoft's general manager for Gaming Developer Experiences, said in the declaration.
Epic Games is aware of the consequences the ban could have. Their vice president of engineering disclosed that they had received "numerous inquiries and expressions of concern" from companies that have licensed the Unreal Engine from them.
The lawsuit saga began when Epic Games declined to comply with Apple's store guidelines, prompting Apple to ban Epic's signature battle royale game Fortnite.
Epic later sued Apple for this. However, Apple now intends to also ban creative equipment such as the Unreal Engine that's integral for game development.
A hearing on Epic's motion is scheduled for Monday afternoon.
If Apple has its way, the gaming industry could see a rapid change and it's expected to be for the worse. But with support from companies like Microsoft, Epic and Apple are level pegging on the legal battlefield.