June 14, 2024

Fortnite is back on iPhone — thanks to Microsoft. Xbox Cloud Gaming users will now be able to play Fortnite for free on Android, iOS, and Windows devices thanks to a partnership between Microsoft and Epic Games, the companies said on Thursday.

The hit battle royale video game has been out of the reach of iPhone users since Apple (and Google) removed it from their app stores in 2020 over a tussle about in-app payment guidelines.

On iOS, Fortnite has previously been available through GeForce Now (albeit part of a closed beta). Android users could simply download the game from the Epic Games website.

The Microsoft partnership would allow users, including PC gamers, to stream Fortnite on internet browsers on their devices just like Netflix, irrespective of the hardware specifications.

The move is likely to help Microsoft attract more casual gamers as the software giant doubles down on efforts to bolster its presence in the video gaming market and take on rival Sony. The company earlier this year unveiled a $68.7 billion (roughly Rs. 5,26,873 crore) takeover of Call of Duty maker Activision Blizzard.

Fortnite is the first free-to-play title to join the Xbox Cloud Gaming service. “It’s an important step to add a free-to-play title to the cloud gaming catalogue as we continue our cloud journey,” Microsoft said in a blog post.

Since launching in 2020, more than 10 million people around the world have streamed games through Xbox Cloud Gaming. The service is available in 26 markets, including the US. Xbox Cloud Gaming is not available in India.

Microsoft, as well as Epic Games and scores of other firms, have criticised Apple’s store practices, which require developers to pay commissions of up to 30 percent for purchases made in the store.

The Fortnite creator has also been involved in a legal battle with Apple, but it largely lost a trial last year over whether Apple’s payment rules for apps were anticompetitive.

That decision found Apple had suitable reasons to force some app makers to use its payment system and take commissions of 15 to 30 percent on their sales.

© Thomson Reuters 2022