The promise of Xbox Cloud Gaming, included with an Xbox Game Pass Ultimate subscription, has always been strong. Subscribers gain access to the full library of Xbox Game Pass on all devices that support Xbox Cloud Gaming, including iOS and Windows-based phones, tablets, and laptops, PC, as well as Xbox consoles. The opportunity to do bigger things has always been there, however, and Xbox Cloud Gaming is now taking that step. Fortnite is now free to play via Xbox Cloud Gaming, no subscription required.
Obviously, while the situation itself is exciting, it's probably a bigger piece of news that Fortnite is once again readily available on iOS devices. Since Epic Games filed a lawsuit against Apple over its closed garden marketplace and required 30% fees on all monetization, Fortnite has been removed from the Apple App Store. Even those who previously had Fortnite installed are forced to use the old version of the game, as updates aren't allowed. This announcement returns Fortnite to iOS users without any additional cost.
While Fortnite on iOS may be the bigger news, Xbox Cloud Gaming shifting in an unexpected direction is also very exciting. Xbox Cloud Gaming has previously been exclusive to Xbox Game Pass Ultimate subscribers, but is offering free access to Fortnite. That could mean other games will be accessible through Xbox Cloud Gaming soon, too, whether it's just free-to-play games or also premium games. It's an exciting future for the cloud-based platform.
The partnership between Xbox and Epic Games does raise questions regarding the details of the financial side of the situation. Epic Games understood it would be kept off of iOS when it filed its lawsuit, meaning it was comfortable avoiding the platform due to its 30% fees. Perhaps Xbox offered a more lucrative fee for the use of Xbox Cloud Gaming's platform.
Xbox Cloud Gaming remains a service otherwise available exclusively via the Xbox Game Pass Ultimate subscription. Fortnite players can check out how the game runs on iOS, Windows devices, and Xbox consoles and if they enjoy the experience, can consider a subscription to access more Xbox Cloud Gaming games through Xbox Game Pass Ultimate.