Fortnite and the Epic Games Store are coming to iOS in Europe

3 min read

Four years after leaving iOS, Fortnite is coming back — but only European players will be dropping in this time.

The endless beef between Epic Games and Apple over the company’s App Store fees took its most recent surprise turn on Thursday when the iPhone maker announced changes coming to iOS in the EU. In an effort to comply with the Digital Markets Act (DMA), a set of pro-competition rules implemented to regulate six of the biggest tech companies, Apple will begin allowing apps to be “sideloaded” — installed from sources beyond the App Store’s walled garden.

The significant changes will allow developers to distribute iOS apps through alternative channels or even craft their own app marketplaces. Apple has long resisted allowing iOS developers to offer their apps through sideloading, as Google Play allows, arguing that the practice would weaken the platform’s security and privacy standards.

In light of the changes, Epic plans to bring Fortnite, the hit battle royale game — now evolving into its own sort of digital marketplace — back to iOS this year. The plan to offer Fortnite for iOS dovetails with Epic’s news that it will launch a version of the Epic Games Store on the platform in the EU.

Apple’s App Store overhaul in the EU is a major departure from the status quo, but Epic Games isn’t happy with the details of how the iPhone maker will implement its DMA compliance. Epic CEO Tim Sweeney criticized Apple’s plans on Thursday, slamming the company’s stated plans as “hot garbage” plagued by junk fees.

Even as it continues to fight against Apple’s policies, Epic is readying its relaunch onto iOS. Beyond developing Fortnite and the Unreal Engine, Epic also runs the Epic Game Store, a digital storefront for PC games that’s also available on Macs. Like Apple, Epic brings in revenue as a digital landlord through the Epic Game Store, though its 13 percent revenue share (developers keep 88%) and approach to in-app purchases is much less aggressive than Apple’s own policies.

Epic obviously sees a lucrative future in continuing to build out its businesses as a software marketplace. That vision is increasingly coming into focus on Fortnite, which has evolved from being a few third-person shooter game modes into a full-fledged Roblox-like portal for digital games. Fortnite now offers thousands of user-generated games alongside its classic battle royale, including a new trio of flashy new titles developed by Epic itself that offer survival, racing, and rhythm gaming alternatives to Fortnite’s battle royale mode.

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