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The cloud is now the best way to play Fortnite on Android (and iPhone)

Thanks to both Nvidia and Microsoft, mobile Fortnite fans now have an alternative to a native client. Fortnite has been famously removed from both the Apple App Store and the Google Play Store in a debate over who cut all those V Bucks sales. On Android, you can still play as it’s not the indoor garden you get from Apple. Fortnite on mobile via Epic’s own launcher. Fortnite players can play on the go, and Epic Games keeps all the V Bucks to themselves. However, it will never be as smooth and convenient as installing and paying through the Play Store.

In other words, iPhone users were left to the cold while the Android version was alive. Nvidia moved quickly to fix this with a closed beta of touch-enabled Fortnite over the cloud. now generally available. Microsoft also recently added Fortnite to Xbox Cloud Streaming Game Pass subscription not required for all players. And both of these are a better way to play on mobile than the Android version, obvious caveats aside.

obvious warning

Epic Games Launcher on Android

Playing Fortnite from the cloud requires a good data connection. Playing Fortnite on Android still requires a stable data connection, but since it’s only used to connect to servers, you can do it with a relatively slower connection. And more importantly, if you’re playing on a cellular connection, you won’t be using up a chunk of your data allowance.

By contrast, streaming from the cloud can use up quite a chunk. Even if you return to mobile-friendly settings, you may be wasting 2-3 GB of data per hour. You might not be too worried if you have a big data allowance on your cellular plan, but that will be a problem for many Fortnite players.

Away from home, data usage is a concern for cloud gaming.

There’s also the fact that cellular data isn’t as good as your home broadband. Even if it’s comparable in terms of speed, you still have a chance of getting a higher ping. In the UK my 5G plan with EE is fast enough. But while at home you can enjoy a ping as low as 15ms on GeForce Now, while out on cellular, it’s double or worse.

Heavy Fortnite mobile players will generally be better off with the native Android version if your playtime includes a lot of cellular usage. But everyone else should go to the cloud.

Fortnite in the cloud is familiar and awesome

Moon Knight drives Butt Stallion onto the Fortnite map

Fortnite on Nvidia GeForce Now with touch controls

The first thing that struck me when uploading Fortnite to the cloud was how familiar the controls looked. They’re basically the same in both GeForce Now and Xbox Cloud Streaming, and in both cases they’re on par with mobile controls. Why fix it if it’s not broken?

But this is also important for anyone who is migrating to the cloud or returning to playing on iPhone after a forced hiatus. I’m embarrassed to admit that I play Fortnite a lot on my iPhone and it’s like I never stopped installing one of these two cloud options.

Fortnite on Android

Fortnite for Android played on Huawei Mate 30 Pro

It’s basically a mobile game. It’s that good. There’s even the same customization and auto-fire mode for the more casual gamers among us.

Performance is the real winner, though. Utilizing the power of Nvidia’s servers or Microsoft’s X Series-powered streaming wings, Fortnite far surpasses its Android counterpart via the cloud. It looks better, is more stable overall and plays on basically everything, something you can’t say for the mobile version. I had to find an older phone with the native client because (apparently) it was a case of “computer says no” when it comes to installing Fortnite on the Xiaomi phone I’m currently using, despite meeting Epic’s spec requirement. Even then, I was limited to playing at 30 FPS on my device with pretty horrendous looking graphics.


Fortnite on Xbox Cloud Streaming with touch controls

None of this is a concern in the cloud. When you connect your Epic account to GeForce Now, you start the game instantly when you install it. The same goes for the Xbox, just as you would install it on the console.

Fortnite from the cloud is so good it’s almost as if it’s a native mobile game.

Nvidia still wins for the definitive results. If you’re top of the line like me, you’re getting an RTX 3080. best graphics cards To power your Fortnite sessions and stream them to your device at up to 120 FPS. If you have a compatible mobile device with a 120Hz display, you will also see all these frames. That’s Fortnite’s max, you don’t have to sacrifice visuals to get those high frame rates.

The Xbox is limited to 60 FPS over the cloud, but it’s also visually impressive. Either way, the controls are responsive, there’s little evidence of latency issues, and there’s also little buffering with a solid wireless connection. Considering that this is a competitive multiplayer game that streams from the cloud and uses touch controls, it’s outstanding.

A native client for actual mobile gaming would be better, but that won’t happen anytime soon, at least on the iPhone. Billion-dollar companies are so wrapped up in who gets most of your money to truly care about your experience, but at least there’s a viable alternative. The performance differences offered by the move to the cloud are staggering, with graphical accuracy and frame rates a smartphone owner can only dream of.

Cloud gaming is still in its infancy, but with the likes of Nvidia, Microsoft, and even Google Stadia being as good as they are, I could see a future where the cloud replaces it for high-end mobile gaming.

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