Fortnite is back on iOS devices, and we have Microsoft to thank. Epic and Xbox announced that Fortnite is now free to play through Xbox Cloud Gaming. The news means that Fortnite can be played again on iOS devices like iPhones and iPads, despite being removed from Apple App Store during the legal battle between Epic and Apple.
All you need to stream Fortnite is a Microsoft account and a computer, iOS or Android device with an internet connection. As of today, it does not require an Xbox Game Pass membership. On iOS, you just need to open xbox.com/play, and you will be prompted to add the Cloud Gaming bookmark to your home screen. So you’re good to go.
Streaming Fortnite through a browser is something you could have done for a few months with a GeForce now membership, but this makes it much easier. I tested it on Xbox Cloud Gaming a few minutes ago on my iPhone 13 in a Safari browser and lost it within thirty seconds. The internet isn’t good here so I’ll blame that and not my Fortnite skills.
You can play with native touch controls (if on a phone or tablet) or connect a Bluetooth controller. Strangely, there is no keyboard and mouse support for playing games on a computer; then again, this is technically the Xbox version of Fortnite and not the PC, which would explain why you don’t need an Epic account to play it.
Epic Games founder and CEO Tim Sweeney, twitter to share your excitement and get another peek at Apple.
“Monumental news, folks!” wrote Sweeney. “Fortnite is now available to play for FREE, streaming to web browsers on iPhone, iPad and Android via Xbox Cloud. No subscription required, no Apple 30% tax.”
The “30% Apple Tax” was one of the main objections to Apple’s control over iOS software distribution that led to Epic openly violating Apple’s rules and later suing the company.
Long story short, Apple gets a 30% slice of all in-app purchases, which means that whenever someone buys V-bucks in Fortnite on iOS, Apple gets a slice. Epic implemented its own in-app payment system to circumvent the fee, and Apple, in turn, removed Fortnite from the app store for “violating App Store guidelines”. Epic argued that Apple’s policy is anti-competitive and took the company to court. Didn’t win and as of now Fortnite remains on the blacklist on iOS.
This Xbox and Epic collaboration is interesting in part because during one of the depositions in the Apple case, Epic said it wasn’t bringing Fortnite to the Xbox streaming service because it represented competition. Funny how things change.