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

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 climb a bit more following a partnership between Microsoft and Epic Games to give away Epic’s hit title, Fortnite, for free. through Xbox Cloud Gaming. The move will effectively allow people to play Fortnite in a similar way to how they stream videos from companies like Netflix, regardless of how powerful their gaming device is.

Unlike previous efforts, Microsoft said this deal applies to anyone who wants to play, with or without a subscription. Players will be able to play on an iPhone or iPad or device powered by Google’s Android software, even though Apple and Google have banned Fortnite from their respective app stores. amid ongoing litigation.

“This is just the beginning for us – we will learn, implement feedback, and over time look to bring even more free titles to gamers through the cloud,” Microsoft said in a statement. The service will be available for free in 26 countries, including Australia, Brazil, Japan, Mexico and the United States.

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

Dan Ackerman/CNET

Microsoft’s offer to give Fortnite away for free through its Xbox Cloud Gaming service comes at a time when game streaming technology is still finding its footing. For more than a decade, streaming technology has promised to change the gaming world by providing people with a way to play visually complex games. without the need for a heavy computer or a powerful mobile device. But the reality hasn’t quite delivered as companies ranging from startups to giants like Google have struggled to deliver the quality they promised or find sustainable business models.

For its part, Microsoft’s Xbox team said it believes game streaming be a key way for people to play but also tempered expectations of how quickly it will spread. Yet that hasn’t stopped companies, including Google, Amazon and Netflix to invest in technology as they try to compete with industry stalwarts like Xbox, Sony’s PlayStation and Nintendo’s Switch.

Chipmaker Nvidia has also jumped into the fray, offering game streaming through its GeForce Now Subscription Service. Earlier this year, the company said so too 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, especially for mobile devices. The company said Xbox Game Pass Ultimate Subscribers, who pay $15 a 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 exclusively use touch to game.

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