Apple had kicked Fornite off its App Store and therefore made it unavailable to download on iPhone over three years ago due to the game’s use of an in-app third-party payment system, which bypassed Apple’s typical commission fees. Fortnite was still available on Windows and macOS.
Epic Games subsequently sued Apple alleging it was preventing fair competition in the app space but a hearing for the case was shot down by the Supreme Court.
Apple had just announced that it would open up iOS to third-party app stores in order to comply with the European Union’s Digital Markets Act, which seeks to make competition in the technology sector more fair. The DMA is going into effect in March, putting to end the company’s reign as the sole source for iPhone apps.
To bring Fortnite to the iPhone, Epic Games won’t be returning it to the App Store but will rather be launching the Epic Games Store. The store and the game itself will only be offered in countries that adopt the DMA. Nonetheless, Epic Games CEO Tim Sweeney isn’t pleased about the outcome, seemingly preferring to be welcomed back into the real App Store.
“Apple's plan to thwart Europe's new Digital Markets Act law is a devious new instance of Malicious Compliance,” Sweeney wrote 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.”
Apple's plan to thwart Europe's new Digital Markets Act law is a devious new instance of Malicious Compliance.
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…
— Tim Sweeney (@TimSweeneyEpic) January 25, 2024
A timeline for Fornite’s relaunch on iOS hasn’t been announced yet but is expected to take place this year.