Fortnite and Epic Games are coming back to iOS in Europe

Hell has frozen over and the Fortnite developer and publisher is coming back to iOS three years after being frozen out

Fortnite and Epic Games are coming back to iOS in Europe

Epic Games can finally get back on iOS thanks to the European Digital Markets Act which has forced the hardware and App Store giant to relinquish its iron grip on just who can put what on its iOS devices.

The Fortnite maker - who famously abandoned the platform after it tried to include store features on board Fortnite in an effort to circumvent Apple's fees and rules - has just announced that it is once more an Apple developer and has had its Apple Developer Account returned.

The official statement reads: “We've received our Apple Developer Account and will start developing the Epic Games Store on iOS soon thanks to the new Digital Markets Act. We plan to launch in 2024,” the company said on Friday.

"Epic Games Sweden AB will operate the mobile Epic Games Store and Fortnite in Europe, with the Store team leading development," it added.

Taking to X (formerly Twitter) the team wrote: "We are bringing more opportunities to developers across all platforms and we’re so excited about what’s to come.… including bringing the Epic Games Store to iOS in Europe. Dev account secured, let’s go!"

And, of course, it didn't take long for Epic CEO and serial social media commentator Tim Sweeney to offer his take.

"I'll be the first to acknowledge a good faith move by Apple amidst our cataclysmic antitrust battle, in granting Epic Games Sweden AB a developer account for operating Epic Games Store and Fortnite in Europe under the Digital Markets Act," he wrote.

War is over. Kinda…

The occasion is worth remarking upon because it marks the first return of Epic Games to Apple platforms since August 2020.

Epic had repeatedly tried to include store features within Fortnite which were in contravention of Apple's rules and effectively cut them out from taking their 30% of profits. After heated exchanges Apple took the drastic steps of terminating Epic Games’ developer accounts leaving Epic Games unable to feature Fortnite or any other of their apps on Apple's platforms. A situation that, while clearly unfavourable for Epic, Tim Sweeney has up until now being resolutely all for. i.e. Rather than play ball with Apple and pay up, he's proudly (and vocally) stood up against the company and using the opportunity to highlight what he sees as an injustice, even if doing so prevented Fortnite from appearing on the Apple App Store, denying his company millions in the process.

It could be argued that Apple's legal defeat in Europe and the introduction of the DMA was in no small part due to the uproar and stance that Sweeney and Epic took against it.

So - on paper - the EU's Digital Markets Act - preventing Apple from further disallowing Epic to place an app store on iOS which cut Apple out - has finally delivered Epic the victory they wanted - that of returning to iOS on their terms rather than Apple's. But as to how long it will take such a store to recoup the money they missed out on by taking a stand, who can tell.

No nuclear option required

And it's doubly interesting because - as Sweeney was only complaining about and commenting on recently - Apple were still hanging onto the fact that the creation of such stores would require an 'authorisation'… In theory meaning that despite the new law, Apple could simply refuse a developer access to iOS if they chose to.

“They (Apple) 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,” Sweeney tweeted last month.

However, it seems that the granting of a developer licence to Epic Games has disproven such worries and that despite causing a kerfuffle that has left Apple fuming (internally at least), they're not 'going nuclear' and banning Epic from getting back on board.

A victory for Epic therefore and great news for Fortnite and Epic Games fans all round. (With their app store in place it's not only Fortnite that can come on board. Expect Rocket League, Epic Citadel, Battle Breakers, Tappy Chicken and more along for the ride too.)

However, it's worth noting that the breakthrough only applies to European markets with such a ruling yet to take place in the US or anywhere else. But, with a precedent set who knows how long Apple can keep its walls up?

Editor -

Daniel Griffiths is a veteran journalist who has worked on some of the biggest entertainment media brands in the world. He's interviewed countless big names, and covered countless new releases in the fields of videogames, music, movies, tech, gadgets, home improvement, self build, interiors and garden design. Yup, he said garden design… He’s the ex-Editor of PSM2, PSM3, GamesMaster and Future Music, ex-Deputy Editor of The Official PlayStation Magazine and ex-Group Editor-in-Chief of Electronic Musician, Guitarist, Guitar World, Rhythm, Computer Music and more. He hates talking about himself.