Is Fortnite the Killer App xCloud Needs?

Xbox Cloud Gaming is getting its first free-to-play title with the addition of Epic Games’ Fortnite, the current most popular PC title. It will be playable on non-console devices at no cost in 26 countries supported at launch.

  • iOS, iPadOS, Android, & Windows
  • Support for gamepads

Who is Microsoft Taking Aim at? 
Microsoft and Xbox have long standing partnerships with Epic Games, particularly involving Unreal Engine. While Xbox has sworn it’s no longer competing with traditional rivals, three companies are certainly taking notice.

  • Sony: Perhaps the timing is entirely innocent, but a boost to Xbox Cloud Gaming weeks before PlayStation’s launch of its revamped subscription and cloud gaming services might be an attempt to take the wind out of Sony’s sails.
  • Nvidia: The clear rival to xCloud, Nvidia’s GeForce Now launched a Fortnite beta in January. Pay attention to whether or not Fortnite becomes a Microsoft cloud gaming exclusive.
  • Apple:  Fortnite was an early casualty of the billion-dollar corporation slap fight between Epic Games and Apple over app store fees. It’s largely been unavailable on iOS since August 2020. Apple has been getting on better with gaming companies like Nvidia, a potential indicator of Apple’s future interest in gaming.

You Can’t Beat Free: A Referendum 
A free title you can play anywhere (if you have good internet) on a device as commonplace as your phone? Short of a cloud gaming service releasing single-player titles as complete loss leaders or literally paying someone to play, it doesn’t get much more accessible to the gaming – and non-gaming – masses. If a deal like this isn’t enough to sell gamers on cloud gaming, cloud gaming isn’t taking off anytime soon.