It's coming home?
Fortnite could finally be making its grand return to Apple devices using iOS, such as iPhones and iPads, as early as 2024 in the European Union. But it’s not set in stone just yet.
This is due to Apple’s latest project that will allow “alternative” app stores onto their devices following the passing of a new EU law dubbed the Digital Markets Act, which, among other things, prevents tech giants like Apple and Google from gatekeeping third-party developers and restricting consumer choice via their respective app stores, according to a report from Bloomberg.
When the changes are implemented by their 2024 deadline, users could in theory use the Google Play Store on iOS devices or the Apple App Store on Android. But it also opens the door for other companies to launch their own app stores.
This means that Fortnite could finally return to iOS devices in some official capacity. When Epic Games added a direct payment method to Fortnite on Apple devices back in August 2020, one that bypassed the App Store’s fees, Apple responded by taking down the Fortnite app and terminating Epic’s developer accounts.
Epic responded with a parody of the iconic Apple “1984” commercial, and an antitrust lawsuit, prompting years of contentious back-and-forth legal action between the two giant companies as well as action between Epic and Google. Over the past couple of years, Apple has argued that installing apps without using the official App Store can put unsafe apps on devices and undermine privacy.
Similar laws like the Digital Markets Act could also be passed in other countries, and officials in both the U.S. and other countries have been pushing for their versions of this law as well. Epic CEO Tim Sweeney has become a crusader for the U.S. version of the law, known as the Open App Markets Act.
But even if acts like these are passed, it’s still not a guaranteed return for Fortnite on iOS. According to the Bloomberg report, Apple has not yet agreed to the portion of the EU’s Digital Markets Act that would allow developers to install their own third-party payment systems, which sparked the war between Epic and Apple in the first place.
Still, laws like the Digital Markets Act getting passed are the first step in what could be a long-awaited return to iOS for Fortnite.