You can now play Fortnite for free on iPhone or Android with Xbox Cloud Gaming

Ever since Epic Games began its battle with Apple and Google for app store fees, playing games fortnite on your mobile device was more difficult, if not impossible. You can try it on iPhone via Nvidia’s GeForce Now, but only if you’ve entered a closed beta. But now Epic Games has decided to partner with the company it turned down – Microsoft – and puts Fortnite on pretty much anything with a screen for free via the Xbox Cloud Gaming service.

fortnite is the first free title to join Xbox Cloud Gaming and Microsoft says that all you’ll need to play (in the 26 countries it is available in) is a Microsoft account and internet access for iOS, iPadOS, Android or Windows. It works via your web browser (click here to start playing now), with touch controls and gamepad support, and yes, you can even bring the game to Valve’s portable Steam Deck.

Microsoft says it will evaluate the feedback for now, but plans to bring more free titles to the cloud. For Epic, it is bringing its game back in front of users who would otherwise have been banned because they could not install the game or simply want to play when they are away from their main game machine, and unlike the GeForce Now closed beta, the web version is on Android, not just iOS. (There was an Android app.) And for Microsoft, this can bring more people into the Xbox ecosystem, make them aware of its cloud gaming capabilities, and perhaps sell a Game Pass subscription or two.

More and more titles are rolling out mobile versions these days, but if you can play a full title at the console or PC level for free on your underpowered phone, tablet, or laptop, that could go a long way in changing player preferences. Part of the talk isn’t just for gamers: Microsoft’s blog shows how many people are trying cloud gaming, and that over 150 titles already include touch control support for all developers looking to reach more new audiences.

It’s kind of surprising to see Epic partner with Microsoft because we’ve learned over the course of Epic against Apple cause that the companies had been in talks for a long time and that Epic deliberately decided not to bring fortnite to the Xbox cloud. “We viewed Microsoft’s efforts with xCloud as competitive with our PC offerings,” admitted Joe Kreiner, Epic’s vice president of business development.

Epic doesn’t seem to be taking a cloud version of the fortnite away from Nvidia just to give it to Microsoft, by the way. Here is a statement from Nvidia GeForce Now boss Phil Eisler: “We believe all games should be playable on any device and we see today’s announcement as an exciting announcement for all gamers! We are working with Epic for the full launch fortnite with touch controls, streaming with GeForce performance, on GeForce NOW. Stay tuned for the next updates.

Correction, 12:58 PM ET: GeForce Now actually had access to the beta on Android via an app (but not on the web).

Update, 2:23 PM ET: Added Nvidia’s statement suggesting that the Fortnite cloud will not be exclusive to Microsoft.

Clash Royale: humiliate your opponents with these 8 tips from pro gamers!

Ideal for streaming, Elgato Stream Deck Mini is 20% cheaper