The North Carolina based game software developing company recently tried to circumvent those policies by pushing its own in-game payment system to Fortnite through an update. However, that resulted in the game being banned from both the App Store and the Google Play Store.
Apple then threatened to pull Epic Games' access to developer tools on iOS and Mac. A recent court ruling already bars the Cupertino based iPhone maker from doing that. Now, Microsoft has weighed in on support as well.
The software giant says Apple’s actions would damage a "critical technology" that many game developers depend on. The company is referring to Unreal Engine, a tool widely used by developers to build games. Epic Games owns Unreal Engine, so Apple denying the company access to developer tools means other third-party developers that use the engine would lose support on iOS and Mac as well.
Unreal Engine is also used for creating virtual reality (VR) experiences and adding special effects in TV shows and movies. Microsoft itself uses this tool in some of its products. No wonder the company is supporting Epic Games in this legal battle.
"Ensuring that Epic has access to the latest Apple technology is the right thing for game developers & gamers," said Phil Spencer, Xbox head and executive vice-president of Gaming at Microsoft.
Microsoft has also previously voiced against Apple's App Store policies. Apple does not allow Xbox game streaming on iPhones, and that has angered the Windows giant.
Apple can't pull Epic Games' developer access, but Fortnite isn't coming back
Following the kick-out of Fortnite from the App Store, Epic Games filed a lawsuit against Apple. The company asked a judge to make Apple put the popular battle royale game back in the store until the matter is resolved in court.
In a ruling on Monday, Judge Yvonne Gonzalez Rogers decided that Apple does not require to bring Fortnite back to the App Store as Epic Games strategically chose to breach its agreements. However, it can't terminate the company's Apple developer accounts either. Additionally, the ruling also prevents Apple from restricting the use of the Unreal Engine by third-party developers on Apple platforms.
"Epic Games and Apple are at liberty to litigate against each other, but their dispute should not create havoc to bystanders," Rogers writes in the ruling. The two parties will likely file their arguments in the coming weeks.