Apple unbans Epic Games, and Fortnite is coming back in the EU

Since Apple started beta testing iOS 17.4 with several changes for European users, we already knew Fortnite would return to the iPhone. Epic’s CEO teased that in January. Now, in its Epic Games Store 2023 Year in Review, the company revealed that Apple has unbanned Epic’s developer account, and the developers are again preparing Fortnite’s release there.

The blog post says: “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. Epic Games Sweden AB will operate the mobile Epic Games Store and Fortnite in Europe, with the Store team leading development.”

That said, it’s unclear exactly when in 2024 users will be able to take advantage of Fortnite, as it will likely be available within the Epic Games Store, the company’s own app store. This is possible thanks to the European Commission’s Digital Markets Act legislation, starting to work by the beginning of March.

Among the changes big techs will have to comply with, Apple, specifically, will need to open up the iPhone’s system, including third-party app stores, payment systems, and default web browsers.

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iPhone 15 Pro showing the App Store ahead of iOS 17.4 beta releaseImage source: José Adorno for BGR

Still, developing for third-party app stores won’t be that simple. Epic Games with Fortnite – and all other players – will have to comply with several rules, which include:

  • Notarization for iOS apps — a baseline review that applies to all apps, regardless of their distribution channel, focused on platform integrity and protecting users. Notarization involves a combination of automated checks and human review. 
  • App installation sheets — that use information from the Notarization process to provide at-a-glance descriptions of apps and their functionality before download, including the developer, screenshots, and other essential information.
  • Authorization for marketplace developers — to ensure marketplace developers commit to ongoing requirements that help protect users and developers.
  • Additional malware protections — that prevent iOS apps from launching if they’re found to contain malware after being installed on a user’s device.

In addition, developers outside the App Store or those who agree with the new specific rules to the European Union will have to pay a “core technology fee. Apple says, “iOS apps distributed from the App Store and/or an alternative app marketplace will pay €0.50 for each first annual install per year over a 1 million threshold,” which Fortnite will likely be part of.

Wrap up

Apple might need to change some of its rules depending on how the European Commission sees it. At the moment, the important news is that Epic Games got its developer account reinstated, which means Fortnite players will soon be able to play this battle royale on their iPhones again in the near future.


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