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Fortnite is landing back on iOS in Europe, but Epic still thinks Apple is breaking the law

The EU's Digital Markets Act will let Epic sell Fortnite on iOS through its own marketplace, but the way Apple has engaged with the new law has the company riled up.

Chris Kerr, News Editor

January 26, 2024

2 Min Read
The battle bus ascends in Fortnite
Image via Epic Games

Epic Games will relaunch Fortnite on iOS in Europe later this year through the Epic Games Store.  The company broke the news on X and said the new Digital Markets Act (DMA) in the European Union was responsible for enabling Fornite's return.

"Fortnite will return to iOS in Europe in 2024, distributed by the upcoming Epic Games Store for iOS," it wrote. "Stay tuned for details as we figure out the regulatory timeline. We'll continue to argue to the courts and regulators that Apple is breaking the law."

The long history of Fortnite on iOS

The popular battle royale shooter was pulled from iOS devices by Apple after Epic attempted to implement third-party payments in 2020, breaching platform guidelines in the process.

That breach resulted in a high-profile (and protracted) court battle between Apple and Epic, with the latter arguing that Apple's App Store guidelines were anti-competitive and monopolistic.

As it repeatedly stated during that face off with Epic, Apple claims the DMA—which allows developers to distribute iOS software and process payments via third-party platforms such as the Epic Game Store—will bring "greater risks to users and developers" by compromising the end-to-end system that was the App Store.

"These changes also compromise Apple's ability to detect, prevent, and take action against malicious apps on iOS and to support users impacted by issues with apps downloaded outside of the App Store," reads a post on the Apple Developer website.

"That's why Apple is introducing protections—including Notarization for iOS apps, an authorization for marketplace developers, and disclosures on alternative payments—to reduce risks and deliver the best, most secure experience possible for users in the EU. Even with these safeguards in place, many risks remain."

Apple is requiring developers who wish to take advantage of the DMA to agree to new business terms for apps in the EU. "Developers have a choice to remain on Apple's existing terms or adopt new terms that reflect the new capabilities," it added.

Bundled into those new guidelines is a Core Technology Fee (CTF) that will require developers to pay €0.50 ($0.54) for each first annual install beyond the 1 million install threshold. That fee will apply to iOS apps distributed on the App Store and alternative platforms. 

Epic Games boss Tim Sweeney claims Apple is engaging in "malicious compliance" with the DMA by requiring developers who wish to distribute beyond the App Store to pay a new fee. He also criticized other aspects of those terms, which he suggests amount to an "anticompetitive scheme rife with new Junk Fees on downloads and new Apple taxes on payments they don't process."

Apple, however, estimates its new EU business terms will result in over 99 percent of developers either reducing or maintaining the fees they pay.

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About the Author(s)

Chris Kerr

News Editor, GameDeveloper.com

Game Developer news editor Chris Kerr is an award-winning journalist and reporter with over a decade of experience in the game industry. His byline has appeared in notable print and digital publications including Edge, Stuff, Wireframe, International Business Times, and PocketGamer.biz. Throughout his career, Chris has covered major industry events including GDC, PAX Australia, Gamescom, Paris Games Week, and Develop Brighton. He has featured on the judging panel at The Develop Star Awards on multiple occasions and appeared on BBC Radio 5 Live to discuss breaking news.

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