The back and forth between game house Epic Games and Apple have quickly turned ugly and, as always, it’s the users and developers that are suffering the most from it. It isn’t just because Fortnite is practically dead on Apple’s platforms but even integration Epic Games’ products and Apple’s services are getting affected at the inconvenience of people other than Epic and Apple. The latest chapter in that bickering is Sign in with Apple for Epic Games accounts which is actually staying but only until further notice.
Apple introduced its single sign-on or SSO service last year to provide what it promised was a more secure and more private way to sign up for apps, services, and subscriptions. Even back then, a few developers have already raised concerns about putting all their eggs in Apple’s basket since Apple requires that apps implement it they already support third-party SSO systems. Developers felt that they were putting themselves at the mercy of Apple’s sometimes whimsical decisions and this episode with Epic Games practically proves it.
Although not directly involved in the Fortnite drama, access to Sign in with Apple became the latest service to be affected by the two’s spat. Unlike the threat to remove Epic Games’ developer access entirely, it seems that Epic isn’t contesting Apple’s decision to terminate Epic Games accounts’ access to it. That doesn’t mean there was no outcry and Apple surprisingly yielded a bit.
Epic Games now reveals that Apple has decided to provide an indefinite extension, which is pretty much synonymous with “until we decide otherwise.” Given the uncertainty of the situation, Epic Games is still urging its users to move away from Sign in with Apple entirely. Games using Epic Games’ Unreal Engine will still need to support the option, though, if they want to remain in Apple’s App Store.
There doesn’t seem to be any foreseeable end to this disagreement between the two companies, especially after Apple filed its own counter-lawsuit against Epic Games. How long it will take to be resolved is anyone’s guess at the moment but it could make Epic’s Unreal Engine a less reassuring technology for game developers who want to target Apple’s platforms, especially iOS.