Fortnite is coming back to iOS this year, at least in Europe, Epic Games announced today. It will do so by taking advantage of the Digital Markets Act law passed by the European Union, which will let the Epic Games Store on iOS.
There have been workarounds to play Fortnite on iOS (such as using GeForce NOW through the Safari browser), but other than that, as you certainly remember, Fortnite was banned from iOS in August 2020, after Epic Games attempted to introduce direct payments that would bypass Apple’s 30% cut on every single microtransaction occurring on iOS. Epic was ready for it, of course, and had also prepared a lawsuit that dragged on for years, ending when the Supreme Court of the United States denied both companies’ appeals earlier this month.
Apple mostly won the lawsuit, although it lost on one count (anti-steering provisions). However, in the European Union, it will have to comply with the DMA law. Still, Epic Games founder and majority stakeholder Tim Sweeney believes they are concocting a ‘devious plan’ of ‘malicious compliance’. Here’s what he wrote today on Twitter:
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.
Apple proposes that it can choose which stores are allowed to compete with their App Store. They could block Epic from launching the Epic Games Store and distributing Fortnite through it, for example, or block Microsoft, Valve, Good Old Games, or new entrants.
The Epic Games Store is the #7 software store in the world (behind the 3 console stores, 2 mobile stores, and Steam on PC). We’re determined to launch on iOS and Android and enter the competition to become the #1 multi-platform software store, on the foundation of payment competition, 0%-12% fees, and exclusive games like Fortnite.
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.
Notably, Epic will continue to argue to courts and regulators that Apple is breaking the law. In related news, Tim Sweeney was recently able to celebrate a resounding win against Google in a similar lawsuit.