Fortnite is coming back to the iPhone, but only for some. Here’s why.

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Agent Jones, Peely, and all of your other favorite Fortnite characters are headed back to iOS after an absence of nearly three-and-a-half years. 

“Remember Fortnite on iOS?” the official Fortnite account on X posted. “How bout we bring that back.”

But, don’t get too excited if you’re a Fortnite player in the U.S. or UK, for example. Fortnite for iOS is only headed back to your iPhone if you live in the European Union. 

Fortnite is only returning for EU users

Why? Well, Apple’s hand is being forced by a new EU law called the Digital Markets Act (DMA). In fact, Fortnite explicitly gave a shout out to the DMA in its announcement and thanked it for making Fortnite’s return possible.

How does this law affect Fortnite and the iPhone? 

The most relevant part of the mandate is that Apple must enable users in the EU to access alternative marketplaces on their devices and permit developers to distribute their apps through those alternative platforms.

With the DMA, Fortnite no longer has to play by Apple’s App Store rules.

Apple vs. Epic Games: The game developer racks up a win

If readers will recall, Epic Games and Apple had a very public falling out back in August 2020. Those who play the massively popular multiplayer battle-royale game can buy in-game items and character skins via the Fortnite currency V-Bucks. That summer, Epic Games launched a new way for Fortnite players to purchase V-Bucks at a discount by bypassing Apple’s App Store’s in-app purchases and buying directly from Epic Games. 

Fortnite promo poster


Credit: Epic Games

This workaround meant that Apple would lose out on its 30 percent cut that it gets from users who make purchases from its App Store. This circumvention was also in violation of Apple’s App Store policies. Shortly after Epic Games made its announcement, Apple removed Fortnite from the App Store.

Instead of scrapping the V-Bucks discount, Epic Games decided to go to war with Apple. The developer filed an antitrust lawsuit against Apple, which had mixed results for both parties. Other tech giants like Microsoft and Google took sides, and Epic Games CEO Tim Sweeney made it clear the Fortnite would basically be “blacklisted” from the App Store for years as the companies exhausted all legal options. 

Now, thanks to the EU’s DMA, Epic Games can distribute an official iPhone app through alternative iOS app stores and avoid Apple’s in-app purchase cut without breaking the company’s App Store policies. 

According to Apple, iOS changes related to the EU’s DMA law will roll out in March with iOS 17.4.

Remember, at least for now, this only affects iPhone users in the European Union. So, sorry, U.S., UK, and players everywhere else in the world. There’s still no Fortnite iOS app for you. (However, there are other ways to play Fortnite on your device via third-party services, such as through Xbox Cloud Gaming or Nvidia’s GeForce Now.)

Still, for Fortnite players in Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Croatia, Republic of Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Ireland, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Netherlands, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain and Sweden, this is a little like winning a Victory Crown.



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