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Xbox picks a side in Epic vs. Apple battle with Fortnite on xCloud

Fortnite edited to be playing on an iPhone
(Image credit: Epic Games / Konstantin Savusia / Shutterstock)
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Xbox lasers in on Fortnite's return to iPhone and iPad thanks to xCloud. It's got its own standalone trailer specifically highlighting Apple's platforms and everything. 

Fortnite has been absent from iOS and iPad OS since Epic decided that it didn't want to give the tech giant a cut of in-app purchases anymore. After a lengthy lawsuit that resulted in Apple taking the L, the game is still MIA from the App Store. Sweeney isn't happy about that, saying Apple went back on its word to reinstate the game. So it's no wonder that he's reveling in the return of Fortnite to iPhone and iPad. But Microsoft is seemingly joining in the rubbing of faces into the workaround.

Epic Games CEO Tim Sweeney reminded everyone that they can now play Fortnite on anything. Including an iPhone or iPad.

"Monumental news everyone!" Sweeney tweeted (opens in new tab) . "Fortnite is now available to play FOR FREE streaming to web browsers on iPhone, iPad, and Android via Xbox Cloud. No subscription required, no 30% Apple tax."

He went on to ask his followers on Twitter what "ridiculous device" they'd played the game on, now that it's streaming from xCloud. And iPhones and iPads seem to be making up the majority of the replies. 

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Fortnite on xCloud is a pretty big deal

While xCloud allows gamers to access an entire library of titles to stream, Microsoft is cashing in on Fortnite being playable on Apple devices again. It loudly touted the battle royale's return to iOS and iPad OS in a not-so-subtle, and very specific xCloud trailer.

Fortnite seems to be the only game to be getting such a highlight now. Apple's platforms are the very first ones mentioned, so it looks like Microsoft is happy to advertise the workaround Epic has managed to pull off. 

It's all the more interesting because last year, Epic Games was reticent to allow Fortnite to be a part of xCloud. 

"We viewed Microsoft’s efforts with xCloud to be competitive with our PC offerings," said Epic's VP of business development, Joe Kreiner, at the time in a deposition (via The Verge (opens in new tab)). 

Microsoft didn't allow in-game stores on the service, which was undoubtedly part of the issue. Kreiner went on to admit that no efforts had been made to haggle over that point of contention during the deposition. 

What devices can you play Fortnite on?

Performance does seem to be an issue for Apple users. One person reported (opens in new tab) that Fortnite is "pretty choppy" on their iPhone 11 Pro Max. Someone else cited (opens in new tab) lag on their iPad. Outside of complaints around Apple devices, the rest of the replies are filled with genuine answers, and some funny Photoshops. 

People are playing Fortnite on the Steam Deck, Amazon Fire TV Cube, Google Nest Hub, and what looks like the Oculus Quest 2. And in the spirit of DOOM, there are mock ups of Fortnite on an ultrasound machine, a pregnancy test, and a calculator.

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Streaming games on xCloud will get even easier when Microsoft launches the Xbox Streaming stick. The device and its accompanying TV app are reported to be less than 12 months away. That's great news for gamers struggling to get hold of an Xbox Series X or PS5, or anyone who can't drop hundreds of dollars on the hardware right now.   

Shabana Arif
Shabana Arif

Shabana has been writing about games for almost a decade now, as well as covering tech, politics, food, and other random tidbits at Gizmodo UK. She's stepped outside of news every now and then to write game guides, and always appreciates a DM if she's helped get you out of a pickle. During her time freelancing, you may have spotted her words at VG24/7, GamesRadar, and IGN. She's also held the position of news editor at Gizmodo UK, T3, and The Sun Online.