Big iOS Changes Hint That Fortnite Is Ready To Return To The App Store

Big iOS Changes Hint That Fortnite Is Ready To Return To The App Store
Images via Apple | Epic Games

Written by 

Tom Chapman


14th Dec 2022 12:14

It's the sordid saga we never thought we'd see the end of, but could Fortnite finally be ready to return to the App Store? Just imagine jumping off the Battle Bus to explore the revamped Chapter 4 from the comfort of the bath. 

Until Microsoft and Sony went head-to-head over the Activision Blizzard deal, the clash of the titans between Apple and Epic Games was one of the biggest scandals to grace the gaming world. Although the law fell on Apple's side, there could be another twist to our Fortnite fumbles.

When Will Fortnite Return To The App Store?

Fortnite 1984 Ad
Click to enlarge
Epic Games

According to a report from Bloomberg (via Dot Esports), New regulations could see Fortnite return to the iPhones and iPads in the European Union. Unfortunately, that might not be until 2024.

This silver lining on the Fortnite horizon comes from Apple's plans to allow third-party app stores onto the main App Store as an "alternative" option. It comes following the EU's upcoming plans for the Digital Markets Act, which stops the likes of Apple and Google from "gatekeeping" customer choices.

Apple currently runs a closed ecosystem where users can't change their operating system or sideload apps. There is the option to jailbreak your phone, but as it's not approved by Apple, it was a grey area that leaves your phone exposed to hackers.

It's true that you can technically play Fortnite on iPhone already, but it involves a convoluted method of using Xbox Cloud Gaming. Remembering we were warned it would be "years" until Fortnite was back on the App Store, this timeframe actually fits.

What Happened Between Apple And Epic Games?

Things came to a head in August 2020, when Epic tried to bypass Apple's 30% cut of in-game purchases. When it launched its own in-game payment system, Apple claimed the developer violated the App Store's Ts & Cs - then promptly pulled Fortnite from its storefront.

There was a bitter back and forth, and we all remember the 1984 parody that stuck a middle finger to the might of Apple. While most were on the side of Epic as the little guy (in relative terms), it was Apple that won in the end. 

In December 2021, courts ruled in favour of Apple on nine out of 10 counts and demanded Epic pay back $3.6 million. At the time, Epic CEO Tim Sweeney said Fortnite wouldn't return until "Epic can offer in-app payment in fair competition with Apple in-app payment, passing along the savings to consumers."

For the time being, the Digital Markets Act will only apply to EU countries. Still, Sweeney has been a champion of similar changes in the USA, where it's known as the Open App Markets Act. 

A whole year more of there being a Fortnite-shaped hole in the App Store is a baffling idea to get your head around. Fortnite mobile has been sorely missed, by iPhone owners, but sadly, we haven't won just yet.

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