Fortnite is set to come back to iOS in Europe sometime in 2024. This will mark the first time a natively running version of Fortnite will be available on iOS since Apple removed the game from the App Store in 2020.
Apple did so at the time because Epic tried to use its own third-party payment system, kicking off a series of legal battles in an attempt to get Apple to open up its platform more. Although those legal battles have yielded mixed results for Epic, a newly passed Digital Markets Act in the European Union is forcing Apple to do things like “allow third parties to inter-operate with the gatekeeper’s own services in certain specific situations” and “allow their business users to promote their offer and conclude contracts with their customers outside the gatekeeper’s platform.”
With the backing of the EU’s Digital Markets Act, Epic Games plans to release a version of its Epic Games Store for iOS in those EU member countries. Fortnite will be its flagship app. A specific release window for the iOS versions of the Epic Games Store and Fortnite has not yet been shared by Epic. In the wake of the Digital Markets Act and pressure from developers, Apple recently eased its own App Store Review Guidelines. Epic Games CEO Tim Sweeney does not like Apple’s revised rules, though.
“Apple’s plan to thwart Europe’s new Digital Markets Act law is a devious new instance of Malicious Compliance,” Sweeney argued on X. “They are forcing developers to choose between App Store exclusivity and the store terms, which will be illegal under DMA, or accept a new also-illegal anticompetitive scheme rife with new Junk Fees on downloads and new Apple taxes on payments they don’t process … Epic has always supported the notion of Apple notarization and malware scanning for apps, but we strongly reject Apple’s twisting this process to undermine competition and continue imposing Apple taxes on transactions they’re not involved in.”
What is Epic Games’ ultimate end goal with all this? Sweeney says in that post that it’s to make Epic Games Store “launch on iOS and Android and enter the competition to become the #1 multi-platform software store, on the foundation of payment competition, 0% to 12% fees, and exclusive games like Fortnite.”
Epic Games laid off 16% of its workforce in 2023 because Sweeney said the company was “spending way more money than we earn.”