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Apple Approves Epic Games Marketplace App After Initial Rejection

Apple Approves Epic Games Marketplace App After Initial Rejection

After rejecting several requests, Apple has agreed to launch Fortnite maker Epic Games’ third-party app store in the European Union. As allowed by the EU’s Digital Markets Act, Epic announced earlier this year that it plans to bring both its digital store and its flagship game Fortnite back to iOS in Europe. However, Epic took to X (formerly Twitter) on Friday to complain that Apple had twice rejected its application over concerns that its game store looked too similar to Apple’s App Store. Epic then said it would take the matter to European regulators for review.

Later today, Apple approved the third-party Marketplace app on the condition that Epic Games make the necessary fixes in a future update.

according to Posts on XEpic Games initially said Apple rejected its request over details like the placement of the games’ “Install” button, which Apple said was too similar to its “Get” button. It also said it was denied because the “In-App Purchase” label looked too similar to Apple’s.

Epic says it uses the same standard naming conventions as popular app stores on other platforms.

The company also described the refusal as “arbitrary, obstructive and in violation of the DMA,” and said it had shared its concerns with the European Commission.

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On Friday afternoon, Apple said it had approved Epic Sweden AB’s Marketplace app but added that the game maker would still need to make the fixes Apple requires. Under Section 2.3(G) of Apple’s Developer Agreement, Epic Games agreed not to make its game store look confusingly similar to the App Store, the iPhone maker said. Apple noted that Epic has generally followed that guideline, except for the design and copy of the download button.

Apple also said that Epic Games’ Fortnite app has already been approved.

The Epic case is a prime example of how aggressively Apple is taking new rules that allow third-party app stores on iOS for the first time. And an overly aggressive rejection could deter other developers interested in testing the waters with their own distribution channels.

Under the new DMA rules, Apple must allow third-party app stores on the iPhone as the tech giant has been deemed a “gatekeeper” under EU law. App developers can also switch to a set of new DMA rules that allow them to cut commissions on in-app purchases on the App Store, though the process still involves fees under a complex new structure that makes developers pay Apple to use its technology instead.

Epic Games has been battling Apple for years to find a way to reach its iPhone customers without having to pay commissions on in-app purchases. The company took the case to court in the US, where it ultimately lost on most fronts, failing to prove that Apple was a monopoly. But Epic’s continued complaints led Apple to briefly terminate the game maker’s developer account in the EU, before EU regulators stepped in again. Epic Games has since pledged to launch Fortnite on iOS and iPad in the EU and bring the Games Store to market.

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epic Certain Approval of its marketplace app on X and in an email to TechCrunch.

Update, July 5, 2024, 5:28 PM EST This post has been updated from its original version with the latest developments regarding Apple’s approval of Epic Games’ Marketplace app in the EU.