Try as it might, Apple just can’t seem to keep Fortnite out.
The battle royale is back on iOS, but don’t thank Apple or Epic Games for its return. The game will be available to some iPhone and iPad users later this month—just not where you’d expect. Banned from the App Store, Fortnite makes its grand comeback on Nvidia’s GeForce Now cloud gaming service.
We’ve known for some time now that Fortnite would return to iPhones and iPads after Nvidia announced last November that GeForce Now would be made available in Safari on iOS, but it has taken some time to get everything ready. It doesn’t help that Nvidia was forced to make its cloud platform browser-based because of Apple’s App Store guidelines, which require every individual game available on a streaming service to have its own app listing—a requirement that effectively shuts out any cloud gaming service from entering the marketplace (though Microsoft apparently considered it).
By bringing Fortnite to Safari, Nvidia is essentially operating through a loophole, one that might not be as convenient for gamers but should bring full functionality. In fact, this new GeForce Now version is specifically optimized for mobile devices so you get the same touchscreen controls and menus as the previous iOS and Android app versions.
You can sign up today to be put on a waitlist for the closed beta though only “selected members” will get access this month. It doesn’t matter whether you’re a free or paid GeForce Now member because the selection will apparently be “granted based on regional availability and device.”
The Fortnite beta won’t go on forever, though Nvidia didn’t provide a timeline for when the game would roll out to all GeForce Now users. We assume Nvidia will do rigorous testing to ensure its servers can handle a potentially massive influx of gamers who have been waiting for more than a year to drop back into the deadly island.
Fortnite has been on hiatus from the App Store since August 2020 when Apple banned the game after developer Epic Games implemented its own in-app payment system that bypassed Apple’s 30% App Store commission. The two companies fought it out in court, and while a permanent injunction was issued that forced Apple to allow developers to direct users to third-party payment processors, Apple is under no obligation to let Fortnite back into the App Store (and all signs show it won’t).
Streaming Fortnite over a cloud service instead of playing a locally downloaded version isn’t the most ideal setup, especially since accessing the game is done through a web browser. It means a strong, stable internet connection is more important than ever, and those who aren’t paying for GeForce Now are limited to 1080p quality and capped to one-hour gaming sessions before the app closes. Still, having to stream the game is better than not having access to it at all, and best of all, this method makes it unlikely, if not impossible, for Apple to find a way to ruin the fun.