Over a year after Apple and Google removed the Fortnite online battle game from their respective app stores for iPhones, iPads or Android devices, chipmaker Nvidia has an answer. Sorta.
Nvidia said Thursday it will begin offering a test version of Fortnite through its GeForce Now game streaming service. People can already access the subscription service through the web browser on their devices, streaming some games for free in one-hour gaming sessions, or $10 per month for more. Now, Nvidia said, it’s worked with Fortnite maker Epic Games to create a version of the game that brings back touch controls, making it easier to play on a mobile device.
“While PC games in the GeForce Now library are best experienced on mobile with a gamepad, the introduction of touch controls built by the GeForce NOW team offers more options for players, starting with Fortnite,” Nvidia said in a blog post announcing the move. The company added that it plans to offer more touch-friendly games in the future.
Nvidia’s move offers eager gamers a way to somewhat circumvent Apple and Google, which removed Fortnite from their respective app stores in August 2020 over a dispute about security and payments. Epic sued both companies, citing antitrust violations, an argument that, so far, largely lost in its first trial against Apple last year.
Since being kicked off both app stores, Epic has pushed Apple and Google to reverse their decisions. In the meantime, it’s also sought ways to offer Fortnite outside those app stores. On devices powered by Google’s Android software, that’s meant offering a direct download of the game, without Google’s security protections. Apple devices are only allowed to download apps from the company’s app store, effectively freezing Fortnite out until Nvidia’s GeForce Now announcement.
Apple didn’t respond to a request for comment. Google noted that although Fortnite isn’t available on its Play Store, the open nature of its Android software meant people could download the software from other sources already.