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New update suggests Fortnite could return to iOS
A new hotfix has removed the direct payment option from iOS, suggesting that Apple could bring Fortnite back to the App Store.
iOS Fortnite players have been out of luck while Apple and Epic battle it out in court. This small update could point to a concession on Epic’s part.
Update 1/5/21 12:35 PM EST: An Epic employee has confirmed that this update was released by mistake.
Original article: It’s been a tough few months for the Fortnite mobile community with the ongoing litigation between Epic Games and Apple. For those who don’t know, Epic added a direct payment option to Fortnite, which was in direct violation of both the App Store and Google Play Store.
On Android devices, players could still download Fortnite through the Epic Games Launcher. Unfortunately, iOS players didn’t have this option, which was what led to the lawsuit between Epic and Apple.
On January 5, however, Epic released a small hotfix that focused on the iOS platform – specifically in the direct payment department.
Epic removed direct payment from iOS, which was the whole reason that Apple banned Fortnite from the App Store in the first place. With the legal battle ongoing, this doesn’t mean that Fortnite will come back to the App Store right away, but it’s a good first step.
Publicly, Epic took this opportunity to take a stand against what they saw as Apple’s monopoly over their platform. After removing direct payment, however, it seems like they might be relenting.
Again, we have no idea whether or not this means that Fortnite will come back to iOS platforms anytime soon. This could be a strategic move on the part of Epic Games to win favor in court.
This is, however, a good sign for iOS players. If Epic are willing to make this concession, Apple could decide to put Fortnite back in the App Store. Only time will tell.
Nvidia’s Geforce now will reportedly bring Fortnite back to iOS
Nvidia’s GeForce Now streaming service will, reportedly, let iPhone players play Fortnite before the court case is settled.
Fortnite mobile took a massive hit a few months ago, when Epic Games decided to bypass the Google Play and App Store monetization rules by selling V-Bucks directly to their players. Android users could still access Fortnite through the Epic Games launcher. But iOS users were stuck playing the old version of the game while Epic and Apple fought it out in court.
iOS users were resigned to wait until mid-2021 before they were able to play Fortnite again – barring any delays, settlements, or rulings. A recent report from the BBC suggests that Nvidia could be the saving grace for this lost chunk of the Fortnite community.
Nvidia has released their GeForce Now video game streaming service for Mac, Windows, and Android, which allows players to use web browsers to access their favorite games – including Fortnite.
The streaming service hasn’t been released for iOS, but an update is expected to come out before Christmas 2020, meaning that iPhone players could play Fortnite through Safari before the end of the year.
There’s a chance that Nvidia will exclude Fortnite from their offerings by the end of the year, but this doesn’t seem likely. Epic and Nvidia have been partnering with one another on several releases, including the new RTX Ray Tracing for Fortnite. Nvidia is also promoting Fortnite on the main page for GeForce Now, as you can see in the image, above.
Apple does not restrict websites on Safari, which means that iPhone players can use GeForce now to play Fortnite when an iOS version is created. Mac users can already access Fortnite through the service.
Streaming Fortnite might not be the ideal way to play from a performance standpoint, but it’s better than nothing. At least, iOS players will have one way to play before this court case is settled.
Fortnite won’t come back to the Apple app store until at least next year
The judge in the Apple vs Epic Games case has prevented the app store from blocking Unreal Engine games, but Apple won’t be forced to put Fortnite back.
Judge Yvonne Gonzales Rogers denied Epic’s preliminary injuction that would force Apple to put Fortnite back on the app store while the case goes on.
However, the judge did grant their other injuction, which stops Apple from banning apps made with Unreal Engine, which Epic owns and makes. You can see the full decision here.
That means, that unless Epic decides to remove it’s direct payment method for V-Bucks, which started this whole legal battle, we won’t see Fortnite back on iOS devices. Atleast, until the trial is over.
The decision to keep Unreal Engine protected though, is to stop the dispute between Apple and Epic creating havoc for “bystanders” – aka other developers not involved in the litigation, who just happen to use Unreal Engine.
In a statement, Epic said: “Epic Games is grateful that Apple will continue to be barred from retaliating against Unreal Engine and our game development customers as the litigation continues. We will continue to develop for iOS and Mac under the court’s protection and we will pursue all avenues to end Apple’s anti-competitive behavior.”
Apple, on the other hand, said: “We’re grateful the court recognized that Epic’s actions were not in the best interests of its own customers and that any problems they may have encountered were of their own making when they breached their agreement.”
The trial will commence in May, 2021, when some sort of resolution to this case will hopefully be resolved. Until then, Fortnite won’t be on iPhones or iPads – that much is certain.
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