Nvidia Defies Apple and Brings Fortnite to iPhones via GeForce Now

Spider-Man in Fortnite Chapter 3 on a generic phone.
(Image credit: Nvidia)

Fortnite is making a return to the iPhone in the form of a limited-time, closed beta streamed over Nvidia GeForce Now. However, it's not a full return to form for the game, which Apple yanked from the App Store in August 2020 for using alternative payment services other than Apple's own.

This version of the game is designed for smartphones and other mobile devices, including touch controls. Beyond iOS, it will also be available in the GeForce Now Android app. Android owners previously had access to the desktop version of Fortnite over GeForce Now, but the mobile version was also axed from the Play Store in August 2020 for violating Google's policies. Android, however, allows side-loading apps, and some alternative stores allow Fortnite.

You need an Nvidia GeForce Now account to try the beta yourself, but it does not need to be a paid tier. You can go to this page to join the waitlist for entry, though Nvidia is warning that "invitations to join will be limited and admission to the beta is not guaranteed." Nvidia will allow groups of players into the beta over the coming weeks.

Nvidia said in a blog post that the Fortnite beta would be the first of many touch games on the service. "We're working with additional publishers to add more touch-enabled games to GeForce NOW," it reads. "And look forward to more publishers streaming full PC versions of their games to mobile devices with built-in touch support — reaching millions through the Android app and iOS Safari devices."

To stream games on iOS, Nvidia can't put its own app in the App Store. Nvidia, along with Google's Stadia, Amazon's Luna and Microsoft's xCloud, must stream games through the Safari web browser. Otherwise, Apple's guidelines state that to have a streaming game through the App store, each game has to be submitted individually for review. "Of course, there is always the open Internet and web browser apps to reach all users outside of the App Store," the guidelines read.

Epic Games fought with both Apple and Google over sharing its profits to host its game on their stores. There aren't any details on what Epic's deal with Nvidia may look like, but GeForce now is different from, say, Stadia in that it doesn't sell the games: it's simply renting hardware that can play it remotely.

Currently, GeForce Now is the only game streaming service where players can find Fortnite, and only in beta. It's unclear exactly how limited the beta is or when it will be available widely on GeForce Now for iOS and Android. But as someone who still has the last version of the Fortnite app before it was kicked off the App Store on his phone, it's a welcome idea. It's pretty empty in there otherwise.

Andrew E. Freedman is a senior editor at Tom's Hardware focusing on laptops, desktops and gaming. He also keeps up with the latest news. A lover of all things gaming and tech, his previous work has shown up in Tom's Guide, Laptop Mag, Kotaku, PCMag and Complex, among others. Follow him on Threads @FreedmanAE and Mastodon @FreedmanAE.mastodon.social.