After a prolonged absence, Fortnite is set to make a comeback on iOS devices, specifically in the European Union. Epic Games announced the game’s return through an iOS version of the Epic Games Store, slated for release in 2024. While the exact date remains unspecified, this move marks a significant turn in the ongoing Epic Games-Apple saga.
Impact of the Digital Markets Act
This development stems from the Digital Markets Act, passed in December 2022, which allows developers to introduce their app stores on Apple’s platform. The legislation, expected to be effective from 2024, has paved the way for Fortnite’s return.
Epic Games vs. Apple: The Ongoing Battle
Epic Games has been a vocal critic of Apple’s App Store policies, particularly regarding the tech giant’s approach to in-app purchases and fees.
In August 2020, Epic Games integrated a direct payment method in its Fortnite iOS app, enabling users to transact directly with Epic, bypassing Apple’s fees. This move led to Apple removing Fortnite from the App Store and terminating Epic’s developer accounts.
Apple’s New App Development Options
Coinciding with Fortnite’s return, Apple announced new options for app developers, including streaming games and mini-programs within apps. However, these changes do not seem to address Epic Games’ core issue with Apple, which revolves around direct in-app payments and Apple’s control over the iOS app ecosystem.
Apple’s In-App Purchase System
Apple’s recent announcement emphasizes that all in-app payments must still go through Apple’s In-App Purchase system. This requirement remains a point of contention for Epic Games, which continues to advocate for more autonomy and less control from Apple over app development and distribution.
A Regional Experiment
For now, Fortnite’s return to iOS is confined to the European Union, making it a test case in the broader context of digital market regulations and developer freedoms. The situation highlights the ongoing struggle between large tech companies and developers over control and revenue sharing in the app economy.
Fortnite’s Comeback on Apple Devices
As Fortnite prepares for its return to iOS in the EU, the gaming and tech communities will be watching closely to see how this development influences the dynamics between app developers and platforms like Apple’s App Store. The outcome could have far-reaching implications for the industry and consumer access to digital content.