Fortnite makes a comeback on iOS devices, with help from GeForce NOW

Fortnite on mobile

Good news for avid Fortnite fans! The game will be available again on iOS devices, but not via the App Store. Instead, users will be able to play it through their Safari web browsers using the NVIDIA cloud-gaming service GeForce NOW, which will be launching a closed beta test of Fortnite in its reworked mobile version over the coming week.

Apple removed Fortnite from the App Store in August 2020, after the game launched a direct payment system within the Fortnite app that bypassed Apple’s own payment processing, as well as the 30% fee it charges.

This predictably led to a high-profile (and still ongoing) legal battle between Apple and Epic, the owners of Fortnite. Although it was Apple that largely triumphed in the initial ruling, a crucial declaration by the court was that Apple cannot prevent app developers from using their own “purchasing mechanisms” alongside the Cupertino firm’s own.

Epic was ultimately ruled to have broken its contract with Apple, which refused the restoration of Epic’s developer account after the ruling was made.

Following the trial, Apple said it would not allow Fortnite to return to the App Store until the exhaustion of all appeals in the case, which according to Epic CEO Tom Sweeney, could take up to five years.

Epic appears to have cracked the door open, however, by not only bypassing Apple’s payment systems, but the App Store entirely. NVIDIA and Epic have developed a “touch friendly” version of the game.

The first closed beta test of Fortnite mobile on GeForce NOW will be open to everyone, although the number of players admitted will be limited. Those who get admitted to the beta test will need to create a GeForce NOW account if they wish to actually play the game – in which case, either a free or Priority (paid) membership will suffice.

What remains to be seen is how Apple will respond. Only time, and the beta test, will tell.

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