Epic Games & Nvidia: GeForce Now brings Fortnite Mobile back to Apple iOS

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A year and a half ago, Fortnite was removed from the App Store due to a legal dispute with Apple. According to Apple, Fortnite will only be reintroduced to the store after the legal dispute has ended – that could take years. Now the “mobile version” is available via GeForce Now. ComputerBase tried it.

Fortnite over GeForce Now: Necessity is the power of invention

There is now another way for iOS and iPadOS users to play the Battle Royale title on their mobile devices. However, not as a native app directly from the App Store, but with detours through Nvidia's cloud gaming service GeForce Now (test). It's been a closed beta for a long time, with 500,000 users participating according to Nvidia, but now anyone can.

This is how Fortnite comes to iOS via GFN

First, Apple users have to use the web browser Safari to access the Visit the GeForce Now website and drag the page to the home screen as a progressive web app. Then Fortnite can be streamed from Nvidia servers via Safari, because there is no iOS app yet.

Play Fortnite on iPhone via GeForce Now
The implementation is done via a progressive web app
The implementation takes place via a progressive web app

Requirements for playing Fortnite on GeForce Now are an Nvidia account and a GeForce Now membership – a free one is also sufficient. Once in the app, you select Fortnite and tap on “Play”, the game loads. When streaming the game, depending on your internet connection, there may be fluctuations in latency, which in turn can cause lag.

The three tariffs at Nvidia GeForce Now (Image: Nvidia )

Streaming also on Android

Android users have only been able to play the desktop version via the cloud gaming provider so far, but the Fortnite mobile app without streaming was also available to Android users. Although Google also removed Fortnite from the Play Store, the game can be downloaded directly from the Epic website and installed natively on the Android device. At the same time as the mobile version for iOS is released, it will also be available to Android users, as Nvidia notes.

The classic mobile app version of the Battle- Royale Shooters is equipped with a user interface adapted to mobile devices and can be controlled by touch for both Android and iOS devices. Auxiliary controls such as auto-shooting, aim-assist, and visual cues on the direction of origin of in-game sounds have also been added to the mobile version.

Fortnite Mobile via GeForce Now in Hands-On

GeForce Now was able to convince in the test of the new GeForce RTX 3080 tariff at the end of 2021, but the streamed battle royale shooter only left a mixed impression when trying it out for the first time. The user interface and the touch input fields are known from the mobile version – you have to get used to it and accept a longer familiarization phase, but that has always been the case for Fortnite Mobile in general. What was striking, however, was the unexpectedly muddy graphics. In combination with the small screen of the iPhone, details or opponents were often difficult to see at a great distance.

In addition, the title could be played reasonably smoothly after the typical Fortnite shader cache stutters at the start, but there were sometimes massive stutters at irregular intervals, which briefly interrupted the fun of the game – in terms of performance (VDSL 100) or the WLAN Signal shouldn't have been there. The following video, which shows an uncommented session of around 15 minutes, provides an impression (e.g. at minute 5:30).

Touch inputs also have a very short but noticeable delay due to the cloud gaming latency. Crossplay with PC players is possible. As usual with cloud gaming, when in doubt: try it out.

Streaming in 640p or 720p

However, the muddy appearance was quickly explained. By default, Fortnite runs on GeForce Now smartphones with a resolution of 1,376 × 640 pixels in 19.5:9 format. On the test device, an iPhone 12, this fills the screen, but by no means exhausts the available screen with a resolution of 2,532 × 1,170 pixels.

In GeForce Now, an alternative resolution of 1,280 × 7.20 pixels in 16:9 format with black borders on the left and right side of the screen can be selected on the iPhone. The refresh rate can be limited from the standard 60 to 30 FPS, and the bit rate can also be adjusted manually. Otherwise there are no graphics options available in the game itself. On an iPad, higher resolutions can also be configured via the GeForce Now settings.

Amazing resolution and graphics

This is particularly surprising in view of the GeForce Now tariff: The editors tested with an RTX 3080 subscription, which Nvidia explicitly advertises with the performance of an RTX 3080 (test) and both a resolution of up to 3,840 × 2,160 pixels and refresh rates of promises up to 120 FPS. In a less performance-hungry title like Fortnite, the latter should actually be possible without any problems, and it is when streaming the PC version on notebooks or PCs. However, Fortnite for iOS and Android on phones does not currently offer this experience.

The version now available for iOS and Android with a touch interface is officially this PC version. However, there are no settings for them in the graphics menu either. However, Nvidia has denied the assumption made by the editors that Epic ported the mobile ARM app to x86 in the background or that GeForce Now emulated it.

Conclusion

GeForce Now is not new, Fortnite via GeForce Now is not new and Fortnite Mobile is not new – Fortnite with a touch interface and thus quasi Fortnite Mobile via GeForce Now is. This has its technical appeal, but politically much more: A game that Apple banned from the App Store as a result of the legal disputes with Epic about the commission system is now returning via Nvidia's cloud streaming service in cooperation with Epic. Users who are toying with the idea of ​​using Fortnite Mobile on iOS will only be given the option again in this way.

Whether the game on this device suits your taste , is a personal choice. It would undoubtedly be an advantage if Nvidia also allowed higher resolutions when streaming to smartphones – the performance is definitely present in the RTX 3080 tariff.

ComputerBase has information on this article obtained from Nvidia under NDA. The only stipulation was the earliest possible release date, of course. The manufacturer did not influence the test report, there was no obligation to publish it.