In a cryptic tweet posted on December the 31st, Epic CEO Tim Sweeney seemed to insinuate the possible return of their hit battle-royale game Fortnite to iOS storefronts. The Tweet simply reads "Next year on iOS."
Previously removed as a result of Epic side-stepping Apple’s rules on in-app purchases, this preceded a months-long legal battle between the two companies. A battle that Epic tried to spin into a PR boon whilst Apple desperately fought to maintain its preferred sterile environment of apps.
Fortnite has proven to be massively popular on both console and mobile, with its cross-platform playability arguably being a major factor in the game’s success. Being able to reach a massive audience is key to a live-service title achieving longevity, and with Apple still holding the largest share of mobile in the world, Epic will certainly be looking to get back onto their storefront, if on their own terms.
Be more Mulder and less Scully
It should be noted that beyond this there is little in the way of official confirmation from either Epic or Apple on the matter. It would not be wholly unexpected for Fortnite to return to iOS despite the war of words and lawsuits between Apple and Epic. As the digital ecosystem opens up and Apple’s ‘walled garden’ approach nevertheless sees them institute changes allowing the sideloading of APK’s and more, it would be foolish to leave money on the table in the form of one of the world’s most popular battle-royale games.
In-fact, it could be argued that the negative repercussions of the Epic v Apple suit have come and gone. With changes demanded to Apple’s store but other arguments by Epic dismissed in court. Both companies now have to adapt to this new way of working, and both will be eager to bury the hatchet and return to making money.
However, it is equally possible that Tim Sweeney's tweet is just one of a number of occasionally humurous remarks he's made. Such as when he tweeted the single word "Craptocurrency" on the same day. This may be somewhat less likely as possible legal action could be taken if the hint at Fortnite's return was taken as a possible official comment. Regardless, it's not outside the realm of possibility.
It will not technically be the first time that Fortnite has returned to the iOS store, as recently the game became available via Xbox Game Pass on the iOS store in the middle of 2022.