‘Fortnite’ Is Coming Back to the iPhone This Year, Says Epic CEO

Fortnite iOS
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Fortnite iOS
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Photo Credit: Joshua Hoehne

Fortnite is coming back to the iPhone this year, Epic CEO teases.

Epic Games CEO Tim Sweeney suggests that Fortnite will return to iOS and iPadOS this year. Epic has steered clear of Apple and its App Store since August 2020 after breaking the company’s rules on payment systems, leading to a major lawsuit over the App Store’s policies. Tim Sweeney’s recent tweets make clear his belief that progress will be made toward reconciliation in 2023.

“Next year on iOS!” Sweeney tweeted on December 31, followed by an image from Epic’s flagship game, Fortnite. While Sweeney doesn’t discuss details, the tweets have led to much speculation about the game’s return to iOS this year.

Fortnite hasn’t been available in the App Store since August 2020, when Apple banned the game for adding a secondary payment system alongside the existing Apple In-App Payments platform. This move violated the company’s policies by sidestepping Apple’s 30 percent commission fee. 

Reconciliation between Apple and Epic is no small feat, given the appeals process for the lawsuit is still in progress and could take some time to complete. Sweeney insisted in a December interview that he’d “fight Apple to the Supreme Court” if necessary.

“We are simply going to fight as long as it takes to get what we’re asking for,” Sweeney said. “And if Apple would settle for that, we would settle it today.”

Sweeney has compared Apple’s management of its App Store to railroad monopolies blocking oil refineries from using the infrastructure. Apple’s continued resistance to side-loading and alternative app marketplaces from both a security and privacy standpoint makes it unlikely that Epic will comply with its storefront requirements.

However, reports surfaced last month that Apple is working on changes to its software and services to comply with the Digital Markets Act in Europe. This act will force Apple to allow third-party app marketplaces to exist on iPhone and iPad, which could result in Apple enabling such functionality as early as fall 2023. The law, if uncontested by Apple, would allow Epic to make an iOS version of the game available outside of the App Store.