Fortnite is back on the iPhone thanks to Microsoft

Fortnite is back on the iPhone thanks to Microsoft

Placeholder while loading article actions

It is again possible to play “Fortnite” on your iPhone (or any iOS device for that matter). Microsoft announced Thursday that the popular battle royale game is now free to play on mobile browsers through its Xbox cloud gaming service, which allows players to stream games directly to their devices.

Microsoft’s partnership with Fortnite-produced Epic Games sidesteps the Apple App Store, which removed Fortnite in 2020 after Epic allowed players to pay them directly, bypassing Apple’s 30 percent commission on all in-app purchases. Epic ended up suing Apple over the tech giant’s business model and the lawsuit became a landmark issue over how people pay for services on their phones. Last year, a federal judge ruled that Apple should allow app developers to “point” customers to alternative payment processing services, but decided that Epic had failed to prove that Apple had a monopoly.

Apple described its epic ruling as a “big win”. Not so.

“Fortnite” is one of the most popular games of all time and it is still not available for download on Apple App Store or Google Play Store. Both Epic and Apple appealed the ruling last year and Epic has a separate case against Google for its Google Play Store. Apple said it will not allow “Fortnite” to return to its store until the verdict in the case is final. Now with Microsoft’s cloud service, all you need to play Fortnite is an account with Microsoft and a device that can surf the Internet. There are no membership fees or apps to install.

Epic Games declined to answer questions about the partnership. A Microsoft spokesperson did not respond to a request for comment. On Twitter, Epic Games CEO Tim Sweeney called the partnership “big news,” noting specifically that the streaming setup will run on Apple’s own payment platform.

It’s not clear if Microsoft will charge a commission on any in-game purchases through their cloud service. Florian Eder, associate professor of economics at the Yale School of Management, wrote in an email that the partnership is a “great opportunity” for Microsoft to build on its existing catalog of games available for streaming. However, Eder said that a player’s gaming experience may never be as good as the app.

“With most players connected to the Internet, the ranking is still suboptimal,” Eder wrote. “This may be less of a threat to Apple as gamers may be unwilling to accept higher latency and worse graphics for cloud-based games.”

Last April, Epic Games decided not to offer “Fortnite” on Microsoft’s gaming cloud service because the developer originally saw the platform as a competitor to the Epic digital game store, according to a report by The Verge. Eder told The Post that Epic’s decision not to work with Microsoft at the time strengthened their argument that Apple had ownership of a market from which they were excluded.

Epic Games believes that the Internet is down. This is their scheme to fix it.

“Fortnite” is the first free game to be offered on the Xbox cloud gaming service. Until now, players had to pay a monthly fee to access Microsoft’s game library, just like other streaming entertainment services. In a statement on its website announcing the partnership with Epic Games, Microsoft said the company plans to continue adding more free-to-play titles to its cloud-based game library.

“We want to make gaming accessible to 3 billion players around the world, and the cloud plays an important role in that mission,” the statement read. “We simply want you to have more choices in both the games you play and the way you choose to play them.”

Shannon Liao and Jin Park contributed to this report.

2022-05-06 15:06:47

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published.