Microsoft is backing Epic Games against Apple and bringing Fortnite back to iOS in the process. The company announced on Thursday that it in partnership with Epic make Fortnite available on Apple devices through its Xbox Cloud Gaming game streaming service.
Fortnite is back, but you still can’t just go to the App Store and ask for it. To play, you need to go to the Apple Safari browser and visit xbox.com/play, a process that is less straightforward but only takes a few minutes to set up, if so. You won’t need a paid subscription to start playing, although you will need to sign in to a Microsoft account and link it to your Epic Games account.
Technically, Microsoft’s new workaround is the second loophole that brings the hit shooter back to iPhone and iPad. In January, Nvidia announced that Fortnite can be played via its own game streaming service GeForce Now, though Microsoft’s experience is likely to be more compelling.
Epic started the battle with Apple back in 2020 when the maker of Fortnite tried to bypass the 30 percent share of in-app purchases, causing the popular game to launch on iOS. Epic has filed a lawsuit against Apple, accusing the iPhone maker of violating antitrust laws. Although the California court disagreed, it demand from Apple to give developers more freedom to point customers to payment processes outside of the company’s infamous walled garden.
Microsoft and Apple once had brand rivalries, but competitive tensions between the two companies have eased in recent years. Apparently, between last year’s racy Apple commercial featuring “I’m a computer” actor John Hodgman and Microsoft struggling to team up with Epic, one of Apple’s most outspoken critics, that the rivalry looks set to resume.
Microsoft is betting heavily on cloud gaming, so it makes sense for the company to partner with Epic, one of the rare gaming companies that currently fully supports seamless cross-platform online multiplayer. It’s also a useful defensive stance against Apple on an issue that has already caused divisions between the companies.
Apparently Apple thwarted Microsoft’s plans launch a massive universal Xbox Cloud Gaming app for iOS, requiring individual games to be downloaded separately — a limitation that explains why Microsoft points people to the browser for Fortnite and not the App Store.
Microsoft says Fortnite will be its first popular free-to-play cloud game, but it won’t be its last. “At Xbox, we want to make gaming accessible to 3 billion gamers around the world, and the cloud plays an important role in that mission,” said Katherine Gluckstein, Head of Product at Xbox Cloud Gaming. “To put it simply, we want you to have more choice in both the games you play and how you play them.”
Credit: techcrunch.com /