Update: Apple reinstates Epic's European developer account

Update (3/8/2024): Epic revealed Apple has reinstated its European account, allowing it to release Fortnite (and the Epic Games Store) in the region.

'This sends a strong signal to developers that the European Commission will act swiftly to enforce the DMA and hold gatekeepers accountable,' it wrote.

'We are moving forward as planned to launch the Epic Games Store and bring Fortnite back to iOS in Europe. Onward!'

Original story: Epic Games' plans to bring Fortnite to iOS in Europe have been halted after its European developer account was killed by Apple.

On Wednesday, the developer claimed its account had been 'terminated.' That deletion, it continued, is in 'serious violation' of Europe's Digital Markets Act (DMA).

Further, it shows Apple '[won't] allow true competition on iOS devices. [...] No reasonable developer would be willing to utilize a third party app store, because they could be permanently separated from their audience at any time.'

As for why, Epic speculated this was retaliation for comments by CEO Tim Sweeney criticizing Apple's compliance plan. It also thinks Apple sees Epic as a threat to its ecosystem.

Exchanges between the two shows Apple considers Epic 'untrustworthy,' and has previously (and intentionally) 'violated contractual propositions with which it disagrees.'

'Another intentional breach could threaten the integrity of the iOS,' Apple's email reads. 'In plain, unqualified terms, please tell us why we should trust Epic at this time.'

Epic and Apple's tumultuous history, and what's next

Epic was given the all-clear to bring Fortnite to Europe's iOS devices earlier this year. It and Apple have been in a years-long legal battle first started by Apple taking the battle royale off its platform entirely.

Europe's DMA means third-party stores (like the Epic Games Store, which would've hosted Fortnite) were allowed on Apple's storefront. It went into effect this year following a new law written up by the European Commission in 2022.

In response to Apple's actions, the Commission told Reuters it's 'requested further explanations on this from Apple under the DMA.' It's also investigating how this reflects the tech giant's compliance with other digital business-related laws.

Apple, for its part, defended its choice, saying Epic's past behavior let it 'exercise that right' to terminate anything under the developer's control 'at any time and at Apple’s sole discretion.'