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Fortnite returning to iOS, but not to the App Store

Epic's battle royale will be available on your mobile browser thanks to the GeForce Now cloud gaming service.

Fortnite is returning to iOS devices after a year-long vacation from Apple’s App Store. However, Epic Games’ battle royale smash will no longer be available on the App Store; instead, it will be available via Apple’s Safari web browser via Nvidia’s GeForce Now game-streaming service. A version for Android will also be available via GeForce Now.

Nvidia and Epic revealed on Thursday that they have been working together to create a touch-friendly version of Fortnite for mobile devices that can be played in the cloud. According to Nvidia, a restricted, limited-time beta for Fortnite on mobile through GeForce Now will begin next week, and customers to the cloud-gaming service can sign up to participate.

In August 2020, Epic Games withdrew Fortnite off the App Shop by adding a new option to the in-game store that enabled users to purchase V-Bucks, the paid in-game currency, directly from Epic. This new method circumvented the App Store’s 30% share on platform purchases, a breach of Apple’s agreements.

Apple swiftly pulled Fortnite from the App Store, which Epic had predicted, prompting Epic to make a video parodying Apple’s most famous advertisement and pursue a lawsuit against Apple. Google removed Fortnite from its app store as well, prompting Epic to inform gamers on how to get the game outside of the Google Play app store.

The court in the case found that Apple cannot restrict developers from “adding in their applications and its metadata buttons, external links, or other calls to action that route clients to purchase mechanisms” after a highly public trial and extensive deliberation. According to Epic Games CEO Tim Sweeney., Fortnite remains restricted from Apple’s App Store and may be accessible natively on iOS for up to five years.

When Microsoft extended its cloud-based gaming service to iOS devices last year, it used a similar technology for Xbox Cloud Gaming. Subscribers of Xbox Game Pass Ultimate may stream games on Apple devices using a browser, circumventing Apple’s rigorous requirements for introducing game-streaming apps to its App Store.

Update (May 17): The GeForce Now Fortnite beta test has concluded, and the game is now available to all GeForce Now subscribers via the Safari browser for iOS or the GeForce Now Android app.

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