It’s been 518 days since Apple kicked Fortnite off of the App Store after Epic Games tried to bypass its payment system. Now the popular free-to-play battle royale is once again playable on iPhones, sort of. Starting next week, Fortnite will be available on iOS by way of streaming, as part of an upcoming closed beta for Nvidia’s GeForce Now game streaming program.
“Fortnite on GeForce NOW will launch in a limited-time closed beta for mobile, all streamed through the Safari web browser on iOS and the GeForce NOW Android app,” Nvidia announced on its blog today. “The beta is open for registration for all GeForce NOW members, and will help test our server capacity, graphics delivery and new touch controls performance.”
GeForce Now, subscriptions for which range from free to $US200 ($274) a year for the premium tier, lets users stream games they already own to PCs, tablets, and smartphones. It’s one way to make blockbuster PC games portable, or to play them on rigs with beefier specs than the ones people already have at home.
In Fortnite’s case, GeForce Now subscribers will soon be able to stream the shooter to iOS devices and play it using touch controls via Apple’s Safari. The browser workaround is one way companies like Microsoft have been able to get their game streaming platforms on iPhones despite Apple’s ban on allowing them inside its App Store. Now its bringing back the game that kicked off a massive, messy, year-long legal battle that’s still raging to this day.
A final verdict in the Apple vs. Epic court case came last September, but both companies are still fighting the outcome. While the judge in the case made Epic responsible for paying millions in penalties, it was Apple who was forced to allow the option of third-party web payments for the apps in its store. The iPhone maker has been steadfastly appealing that decision, and temporarily bought some extra time before having to implement the change in the process. Suffice it to say that throughout all of this, Apple has not invited Fortnite back into the App Store.
By next week, at least some die-hard Fortnite fans on iPhone will have a new way to circumvent that blockade.