Fortnite Dances its Way Back to iPads in the EU: A Victory for Gamers and the Digital Markets Act


European Fortnite fans, dust off your iPads and prepare to floss once more! Thanks to the recently enforced Digital Markets Act (DMA) by the European Union, the popular battle royale game is making a triumphant return to Apple tablets in the EU region. This move signifies a major win for both gamers and the spirit of fair competition in the digital marketplace.

iPads in the EU
iPads in the EU

The Digital Markets Act: Leveling the Playing Field

The DMA, implemented in March 2024, aims to foster a more open and competitive digital environment within the EU. The act primarily targets large technology companies, designated as “gatekeepers,” that wield significant control over app distribution and in-app purchases. These gatekeepers often impose strict regulations and hefty fees on developers, potentially stifling innovation and consumer choice.

Apple’s iPad Falls Under the DMA Umbrella

In a crucial decision, the European Commission extended the DMA’s reach to encompass Apple’s iPad. This acknowledges the iPad’s growing prominence as a gateway for businesses to reach consumers. Previously, Apple’s App Store served as the sole platform for downloading apps on iPads, limiting user options and developer access. With iPadOS now classified as a gatekeeper under the DMA, significant changes are on the horizon.

A New Era for App Distribution on iPads

Third-Party App Stores: A Game Changer

One of the most impactful consequences of the DMA is the mandated inclusion of third-party app stores on iPads. This paves the way for developers like Epic Games, the creators of Fortnite, to introduce their app marketplaces alongside the existing App Store. This fosters competition and potentially allows for greater flexibility and potentially lower fees for developers compared to Apple’s ecosystem.

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Additional Changes for European Users

The DMA’s influence extends beyond the return of Fortnite. European iPad users can expect a wave of positive changes, including:

Frameworks and APIs for Alternative App Stores: Developers will have access to the necessary tools and resources to create their app marketplaces, fostering a more diverse app landscape.

Alternative Browser Engines: Users will have the option to utilize browsers other than WebKit, currently the default engine powering Safari on iPad. This opens doors for innovation and potentially faster, more secure browsing experiences.

Interoperability Request Form: Developers will have a streamlined process to request interoperability features with Apple’s services and platforms, potentially leading to a more cohesive digital experience.

Enhanced Safari: Users might gain the ability to select from a variety of browser options besides Safari, offering greater control and customization.

The Road Ahead: What to Expect

The implementation of the DMA and the return of Fortnite to iPads mark a significant step towards a more open and competitive digital marketplace in the EU. However, some key questions remain:

When can European users expect to access third-party app stores? Specific timelines haven’t been officially announced, but industry experts speculate that it could occur within the next 6-12 months.

How will Epic Games’ app store function on iPads? Details regarding the functionalities and features of Epic’s app store on iPadOS are currently unknown. Epic will likely provide more information closer to the launch.

Will other major app developers follow suit by creating their own iPad app stores? The success of Epic’s venture could potentially incentivize other developers to introduce their app marketplaces, further diversifying the app landscape.

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Q: Does this mean Fortnite will be completely removed from the Apple App Store?

A: No. Fortnite will likely remain available on the App Store alongside other third-party app stores that may emerge. Users will then have the option to choose their preferred platform for downloading the game.

Q: Will users outside the EU benefit from the DMA’s regulations?

A: Currently, the DMA’s jurisdiction is limited to the European Union. However, the act’s implementation might inspire other regions to consider similar regulations aimed at fostering a more competitive digital landscape.

Q: How will the DMA impact app prices for European iPad users?

A: The increased competition brought about by third-party app stores could potentially lead to lower app prices for European iPad users. However, pricing strategies will ultimately be determined by individual developers and app stores.