What just happened? Starting today, Fortnite is playable on Apple devices for the first time since Apple kicked the game off its App Store in 2020. Although the game is still banned from the App Store, users can now play it on iPhones and iPads, thanks to Microsoft's Xbox Cloud.
Fortnite is the first free-to-play game to come to Xbox Cloud, with more planned. Playing it doesn't require a Game Pass subscription either. All that users need is a Microsoft account. Just head to the Xbox Cloud website in a browser to play Fortnite on mobile devices or even PCs with no installation required.
Since last year, free-to-play multiplayer games no longer require a paid Gold subscription on Xbox. That policy extends to the cloud version of Fortnite along with any other free-to-play games Microsoft may add to its cloud service, like Halo Infinite, Rocket League, Destiny 2, Apex Legends, or Call of Duty Warzone. It isn't yet clear if Microsoft will take a cut of microtransaction sales in free-to-play cloud games.
Microsoft isn't the first company to try to bring Fortnite to the cloud. In January, Nvidia brought the battle royale back to Apple devices through its GeForce Now cloud gaming service running in Safari. However, the game is still in closed beta there. Xbox Cloud represents Fortnite's first public cloud-based release and first public re-release on Apple's platform.
Apple removed Fortnite from its App Store in 2020 after Epic Games started offering microtransactions outside of Apple's payment system. The deliberate rule-breaking set off a lengthy legal fight which Apple mostly won. Now, iPhone, iPad, and Mac users can enjoy Fortnite for the first time in almost two years.