Tech

Fortnite is now free to play on Xbox Cloud Gaming for mobile, desktop and consoles

Since the launch of Microsoft’s Xbox Cloud Gaming two years ago, more than 10 million people worldwide have streamed games through the service. That number is likely to be slightly higher due to a partnership Microsoft has formed with Epic Games to offer Epic’s hit title Fortnite for free via Xbox Cloud Gaming. The move will effectively allow people to play Fortnite in a manner similar to how they stream videos from companies like Netflix, regardless of how powerful their gaming device is.

Unlike previous efforts, Microsoft says this agreement applies to anyone who wants to play, with or without a subscription. Players can play on an iPhone or iPad, or a device running Google’s Android software, although both Apple and Google have banned Fortnite from their respective app stores amid an ongoing litigation.

“This is just the beginning for us – we will learn, take feedback and over time try to bring even more free-to-play titles to players via the cloud,” Microsoft said in a statement. The service will be available for free in 26 countries including Australia, Brazil, Japan, Mexico and the US.

Microsoft’s hit Forza Horizon 5 racing game running on a Valve Steam Deck via Xbox Cloud Gaming.

Dan Ackerman/CNET

Microsoft’s offer to offer Fortnite for free through its Xbox Cloud Gaming service comes at a time when game streaming technology is still gaining traction. For more than a decade, streaming technology has promised to transform the world of video gaming by giving people a way to play visually complex games without the need for a powerful computer or powerful mobile device. But reality hasn’t quite lived up to the promise as companies, from startups to giants like Google, struggle to deliver on the promised quality or find sustainable business models.

For its part, Microsoft’s Xbox team has said it believes game streaming will be a key way for people to gamble but has also tempered expectations of how quickly it will catch on. However, that hasn’t stopped companies from doing so Google, Amazon and Netflix are reluctant to invest in the technology as they try to compete with industry mainstays like the Xbox, Sony’s PlayStation, and Nintendo’s Switch.

The chip manufacturer Nvidia has also jumped into the fray and is offering game streaming GeForce Now subscription service. Earlier this year, the company also said so would offer Fortnite with touch controls through its service, although it is still in the testing phase.

Microsoft said it plans to add more games to its new free-to-play streaming service, particularly for mobile devices. The company said Xbox Game Pass Ultimate subscribersThose who pay $15 per month to access hundreds of games to download and stream currently have access to more than 150 streaming games that work with touchscreen mobile devices. So far, the company added, 20% of Xbox gaming users only use touch to play games.

https://www.cnet.com/tech/gaming/fortnite-now-free-to-play-on-xbox-cloud-gaming-for-mobile-desktop-console/ Fortnite is now free to play on Xbox Cloud Gaming for mobile, desktop and consoles

Chris Barrese

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