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Epic has found a way to bring Fortnite back to iOS

As the legal fight between Epic Games and Apple drags on and enters new battlegrounds, Fortnite remains conspicuously absent from the App Store. Through an innovative partnership with NVIDIA's GeForce Now cloud gaming service, however, Fortnite will be making a return to iOS devices, whether Apple likes it or not.

The Fortnite iOS app was kicked off the App Store in August of 2020 after Epic Games added a new feature that allowed users to buy V-Bucks, Fortnite's in-game currency, at a lower price. Epic Games was able to offer lower V-Bucks prices because a new in-app method cut the App Store out of the purchasing loop, along with its 30% fee on microtransactions. Apple responded by informing Epic Games that bypassing the App Store violated developer guidelines and removing Fortnite from the App Store.

The decision to remove Fortnite led to Epic Games filing a civil antitrust lawsuit against Apple, setting in motion a legal showdown that has been heating up in recent weeks. The trial to settle the issue doesn't begin until May 2021, leaving iOS users unable to download, reinstall, or update the Fortnite app for another six months, at least.

However, it looks like iOS users may not have to wait that long to play a fully updated, complete version of Fortnite on their phones again. NVIDIA announced that its cloud gaming service, GeForce Now, is available on iOS devices and that it has partnered with Epic Games to make Fortnite playable for all of its 5 million registered subscribers.

While the GeForce Now iOS beta is up and available, Fortnite will not be immediately available. The games that GeForce now streams are the PC versions of games, which requires that users connect a compatible Bluetooth controller to their phones to play. To deliver the Fortnite mobile experience that iOS users expect, NVIDIA has partnered directly with Epic Games to provide "a touch-friendly version of Fortnite."

In an interesting development, GeForce Now will not be available through an app for iOS, as it is on Android, PC, and Mac devices. Instead, it is accessible only through the Safari browser, circumventing the very App Store policies that Epic Games is challenging in court.

The fight between Epic Games and Apple has impacted the over 116 million Fortnite players who used the iOS app to play the popular battle royale game. While anyone who already had the app downloaded can still play, the lack of updates keeps fans from having the authentic, seasonal Fortnite experience. Epic Games' partnership with NVIDIA should help iOS gamers enjoy Fortnite while the world waits for Epic Games and Apple to sort out their differences.