You Can Once Again Play Fortnite on Your iPhone Thanks to Xbox Cloud Gaming

You Can Once Again Play Fortnite on Your iPhone Thanks to Xbox Cloud Gaming
Image: Chris Delmas / AFP, Getty Images

Now you can play Fortnite wherever there’s an internet connection. Microsoft announced today that Epic Games’ flagship title is now available to play for free through the Xbox Cloud Gaming service, including on mobile. Right now, the game is available in 26 countries, including Australia. This is pretty big news, given how the app was previously kicked off both Apple and Google’s app stores.

Fortnite was famously dumped from the iOS App Store in 2019 after Epic attempted to circumvent Apple’s tithe on in-app purchases. Its removal led to a months-long court case, and though Epic won the battle, Apple ultimately won the war: Fortnite did not return to iOS devices.

You can start playing Fortnite right now if you have a Microsoft account. You don’t even have to subscribe to a Cloud Gaming pass. The game is available for iOS, iPad, Android smartphones and tablets, and Windows PCs. If you don’t have the app, which isn’t available on iOS, try out the browser version of Xbox Cloud Gaming instead.

Cloud gaming is trying to have a moment. In the last few years, more services have sprouted up with promises that you can play the latest titles without owning a physical console or PC. In addition to Microsoft’s Xbox Cloud Gaming service, there is Google Stadia, Amazon Luna, and Nvidia GeForce Now, all of which offer various titles and different ways of acquiring them. Even Netflix is trying to get into cloud gaming to help bolster its business.

Microsoft has been busy curating games for its still in-beta cloud service. But the choice to offer Epic Games’ Fortnite is a clever move, considering the game was kicked off Apple and Google’s respective app stores over Epic’s refusal to pay the requisite app tax by allowing users to purchase in-game currency directly from the developer at a discount. If you want to play Fortnite on your iPhone or Android phone, this is currently the way to do it.

If you don’t like Xbox Cloud Gaming, there is an alternative coming. Nvidia still has a closed beta running for Fortnite on its GeForce Now cloud gaming service, but it’s not yet publicly available.

If you’re worried that either of these cloud-based ways to play Fortnite will simply put you through to a machine running a console or PC version, both Microsoft and Nvidia’s solutions feature touch controls and were made with mobile in mind.

With its legal cases against Apple and Google currently in appeals, Epic Games has essentially found a way to circumvent their commission requirements on in-game payments in exchange for a marquee spot on the better-stocked cloud gaming services. Compared to Stadia and Luna, Nvidia and Microsoft’s offerings appear more in line with what actual PC and Xbox console players want to play. It’s clever marketing for Fortnite and cloud gaming, and it puts a fire underneath the other platforms as they vie for users’ attention.

Microsoft’s Xbox Cloud Gaming service launched two years ago and has managed to sign on 10 million people worldwide since. The company is clearly hoping to add to those numbers by enticing people to try the service through complimentary offerings like these. Xbox Game Pass Ultimate costs $14.95 a month and they’re running a deal currently to give you your first month for just $1. It currently offers about 150 different streaming games that work with or without a gamepad on mobile.