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Epic CEO Sweeney Hints at Fortnite’s Comeback on iPhone in 2023

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The Battle Between Apple and Epic Games

Apple iPhone users were once able to enjoy the immensely popular game Fortnite on their iOS devices through the App Store. However, Epic Games, the developer behind Fortnite, wanted to give players a chance to save money on in-game purchases. They introduced their own app storefront, allowing users to buy in-app items directly from Epic’s platform, bypassing Apple’s 15% to 30% “tax” on in-app transactions.

Unfortunately for Epic Games, Apple strictly forbids the use of alternative in-app payment systems on the App Store. When Fortnite introduced the option to pay $7.99 through Epic’s direct payment platform for 1,000 V-bucks instead of $9.99 via Apple’s App Store, it raised concerns at Apple headquarters. In response, Apple made the decision to remove Fortnite from the App Store.

A legal battle ensued, leading to a judge’s mixed ruling. Apple appealed the decision, and the case may eventually reach the U.S. Supreme Court. In the meantime, due to the Digital Markets Act (DMA) in the European Union, Apple is obliged to allow sideloading. As a result, iPhone users in Europe will soon have the ability to install and enjoy Fortnite on their devices.

Epic CEO Tim Sweeney says that Fortnite will return to iOS in 2023

Tim Sweeney’s Cryptic Tweet

Epic CEO Tim Sweeney didn’t let this potential workaround slip by unnoticed. In a tweet on New Year’s Eve, he cryptically stated, “Next year on iOS!” Sweeney is well aware that Apple is unlikely to reinstate Fortnite on the App Store. Instead, he is hinting at the possibility that iPhone users will be able to sideload the game on their devices.

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This option giving Fortnite users the option to avoid Apple's in-app processing platform is what got Fortnite kicked out of the App Store

Apple’s Stance and Future Prospects

Initially, some speculated that Apple might cave in to Epic’s demands, especially since blocking sideloading in Europe could be challenging. Apple could argue that it is concerned about its customers installing infected apps through sideloading and, therefore, allow Fortnite to return to the App Store. However, does that truly sound like something Apple would do? It seems more likely that Apple will stand its ground and hope for a favorable outcome in the appeal. Such a decision aligns with Apple’s typical approach.

As we eagerly await the results of the ongoing legal battle, Epic CEO Tim Sweeney’s tweet has sparked hope among Fortnite fans. It suggests that the game may find its way back to iOS devices in 2023, giving iPhone users another chance to join in its epic adventures.

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