After two rejections, Apple approves Epic Games Store app for iOS


European iOS users will see the alternative app store launch sometime soon.

Epic Games founder and CEO Tim Sweeney.

Enlarge / Epic Games founder and CEO Tim Sweeney.

It’s been a whirlwind journey of stops and starts, but AppleInsider reports the Epic Game Store for iOS in the European Union has passed Apple’s notarization process.

This paves the way for Epic CEO Tim Sweeney to realize his long-stated goal of launching an alternative game store on Apple’s closed platform—at least in Europe.

Apple announced plans to allow third-party app stores on iOS in the region earlier this year, complying with the letter of the law (though some say not the spirit) as required by the Digital Markets Act (DMA), which was enacted in hopes of making platforms more open and competitive.

Apple’s new policies allow for alternative app marketplaces but with some big caveats regarding the deal that app developers agree to. We discussed it in some detail earlier this year.

The change followed years of contentious PR campaigns and court battles around the world between Epic and Apple, with Sweeney proclaiming that Apple’s app approval processes are anti-competitive and that its 30 percent cut of app revenues is unfair.

Even after the shift, Apple is said to have rejected the Epic Games Store app twice. The rejections were over specific rules about the copy and shape of buttons within the app, though not about its primary function.

With the rejections, Apple told Epic that some buttons within the app were too similar in both appearance and copy to Apple’s own buttons—including the “Install” button and the “in-app purchases” copy. Apple felt that this violated rules it had set out in its guidelines to prevent developers from mimicking Apple app designs too closely, ostensibly confusing users.

After those rejections, Epic took to X to accuse Apple of rejecting the app in a way that was “arbitrary, obstructive, and in violation of the DMA.” Epic claimed it followed Apple’s suggested design conventions for the buttons and noted that the copy matched language it has been using in its store on other platforms for a long time.

Not long after, Apple went ahead and approved the app despite the disagreement over the copy and button designs. However, AppleInsider reported that Apple will still require Epic to change the copy and buttons later. Epic disputed that on X, and Sweeney offered his own take:

Apple’s DMA saga has taken a turn towards the absurd.

Apple is now telling reporters that this approval is temporary and are demanding we change the buttons in the next version – which would make our store less standard and harder to use.

We’ll fight this.

While the matter remains contentious, it looks like the Epic Game Store will soon reach iPhone and iPad users in the European Union. Epic still has to build some key parts of the new storefront, such as its mobile payment system for the platform.

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