Epic Games accuses Apple of impeding efforts to launch own app store in Europe

Fortnite maker Epic Games has accused Apple of blocking its efforts to set up its own app store for iPhone and iPad users in Europe.

Epic said Apple had twice blocked its submission of plans for an Epic Games Store, which would allow users in Europe to download apps to their Apple devices outside of Apple’s own App Store for the first time.

In a statement posted to X, Epic accused Apple of twice rejecting the gaming firm’s submissions over concerns its design was “too similar” to Apple’s own App Store.

Epic said Apple’s actions were a breach of the EU’s new Digital Markets Act (DMA) – a sweeping set of rules designed to stop big tech companies from cornering digital markets, which have forced Apple to allow people in Europe to download iPhone apps from stores not operated by the US tech giant – a move it has long resisted.

“Apple has rejected our Epic Games Store notarisation submission twice now, claiming the design and position of Epic’s ‘Install’ button is too similar to Apple’s ‘Get’ button and that our ‘In-app purchases’ label is too similar to the App Store’s ‘In-App Purchases’ label,” the company said.

“We are using the same ‘Install’ and ‘In-app purchases’ naming conventions that are used across popular app stores on multiple platforms, and are following standard conventions for buttons in iOS apps.

“We’re just trying to build a store that mobile users can easily understand, and the disclosure of in-app purchases is a regulatory best practice followed by all stores nowadays.”

It is a fresh escalation in a long-running, high-stakes battle between the two companies. Epic has spent years fighting Apple’s exclusive control over the distribution of iPhone apps.

Epic’s most famous game, Fortnite, disappeared from the App Store in 2020 during a row over developer payments and commissions, and the hugely popular battle royale game is still to return to Apple’s platform.

But Epic said it was ready to bring the game back to Apple’s iOS platform in Europe in the coming months.

“Apple’s rejection is arbitrary, obstructive, and in violation of the DMA, and we’ve shared our concerns with the European Commission,” Epic said in its statement.

“Barring further roadblocks from Apple, we remain ready to launch in the Epic Games Store and Fortnite on iOS in the EU in the next couple of months.”

In response, Apple said it was trying to help Epic Games get its app marketplace approved and live, and confirmed the Fortnite app had already been approved.

The iPhone maker said Epic had previously agreed to not make their own app store appear too similar to the Apple App Store and this has been the case, with the exception of the download button design.

However, Apple said it believes it to be a small matter which can be easily fixed and said it was hopeful that with the issue resolved, Epic’s marketplace can go live.