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Fortnite returns to iOS in the EU market in 2024

Thanks to new rules from the European Union
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After being kicked out of the iOS ecosystem in 2020 due to a calculated provocation against the App Store’s terms of service, Fortnite will return to Apple’s devices in 2024 – but only in member states of the European Union (for now, at least). This is thanks to the EU’s new Digital Markets Act (DMA), a set of rules designed to force tech giants like Apple to open up their ecosystem to third-party app distributors. Key changes include the possibility for third parties to process app payments and distribute their apps outside of the App Store.

Hence, Fortnite will not return via the App Store, but through a separate Epic Games Store app on iOS.

Apple announced sweeping changes to its ecosystem in the EU market to comply with the new rules yesterday, although it used the opportunity to rage against them, attacking them as “new avenues for malware, fraud and scams, illicit and harmful content, and other privacy and security threats.” Suffice to say, the company is pretty salty about this one.

Fortnite ad attacking Apple and referencing Orwell's 1984.

Epic's fight with Apple has lasted a long time.

All the necessary changes to iOS will be available in March 2024 after a period of testing.

It’s worth reiterating that these new possibilities are only going to be available in EU member states for the time being, not to every country in Europe – the two terms are often used to mean the same thing, but it’s worth being precise in this case to avoid unnecessary confusion. This means users in countries like the UK, Switzerland, or Norway won’t benefit from these changes. They can, of course, adopt the DMA into their own law in the future, which would force Apple to implement the same changes there – a development that is to be expected in the long term and known as the Brussels effect.

The App Store also opened its doors to game streaming services such as Xbox Cloud Gaming and Nvidia GeForce Now, enabling users to stream titles directly to their devices. Previously, the services were only available via a web browser on iOS (these services are also one way to still play Fortnite on iOS). Having an app for these services should make the lives of users easier, however.

Epic Games is likely not the only company to bring its own store to iOS – Microsoft is known to have prepared for the DMA to come into effect since last year, getting ready to open its own store on Apple’s system. With the newly-acquired mobile gaming power of Activision Blizzard King, this is a massive business opportunity for the tech giant.