Fortnite returns to iPhone and iPad, thanks to Nvidia

Fortnite returns to iPhone and iPad, thanks to Nvidia

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Fortnite iOS 14
Who needs the App Store?
Photo: Killian Bell/Cult of Mac

Fortnite is returning to iPhone and iPad — but you won’t find it in the App Store. Starting next week, the hit battle royale game will be available to stream through Nvidia’s GeForce now, complete with brand-new touch controls.

Players will initially have to sign up to join the closed beta, which requires an active GeForce Now membership, designed to help Nvidia test server capacity and performance. But Fortnite eventually will roll out to all GeForce Now subscribers.

The move is somewhat of a kick in the teeth for Apple, which has been determined to block Fortnite on its own platforms since it booted Epic Games, the game’s creator, from the App Store for breaking the rules.

Fortnite is coming back to iOS without Apple’s approval

iPhone and iPad users have been unable to play Fortnite since August 2020. That’s when Apple expelled all Epic Games titles from the App Store because the developer broke the rules by implementing its own in-app payment system.

Since then, Apple and Epic have been battling it out in court, with mixed results for both companies. Epic has requested that its App Store developer account be reinstated so Fortnite can return, but Apple won’t play ball.

But now it doesn’t need to. Nvidia promised in November 2020 that Fortnite would be available on iPhone and iPad through its GeForce Now cloud gaming service. And more than a year later, it is finally gearing up to deliver.

Nvidia announced Thursday that an invite-only Fortnite beta will begin next week. You can sign up to join the test, which will add more users over time. You’ll need an active GeForce Now membership to take part.

Get ready for Fortnite in GeForce Now

Fortnite has long been available through GeForce Now on desktop machines, including Mac. But Nvidia and Epic have been working on optimizations — including proper touch controls — before bringing it to mobile.

The closed beta gives both companies an opportunity to test those optimizations, as well as server capacity for what is one of the world’s most popular online games, before making Fortnite available to all.

Streaming Fortnite isn’t as ideal as having a native app installed locally. But it’s the next best thing — and better than not having access to the game at all. You need an active internet connection to play it either way.