Fortnite is now available to play through Xbox Cloud Gaming for free

Xbox Project xCloud games
Xbox Project xCloud games (Image credit: Matt Brown | Windows Central)

What you need to know

  • Fortnite is a hugely-popular free-to-play battle royale that is available to play on multiple gaming platforms.
  • On Thursday, Xbox announced that Fortnite is joining the growing Xbox Cloud Gaming library, and it's available now.
  • Players can stream Fortnite to any supported, browser-enabled device simply by signing in with their Microsoft Account.
  • Xbox is looking into bringing more free-to-play games to Xbox Cloud Gaming, and Fortnite is only the first.

Fortnite is one of the world's most successful games available today, and is actively played by millions of players. It's already available across almost the entire range of modern gaming platforms, but it can be difficult to access on mobile devices. On Thursday, Xbox and Epic Games announced a new partnership that makes it even easier to play Fortnite, no matter where you are.

Starting today, Fortnite is now available to play through Microsoft's Xbox Cloud Gaming. The service grants Xbox Game Pass Ultimate subscribers access to a vast collection of Xbox titles through the power of the cloud, and is available across Xbox, Windows PCs, Android, iOS, and more through the browser or app. With the addition of a free-to-play title like Fortnite, Xbox is changing things up and setting a new precedent.

You don't have to be subscribed to Xbox Game Pass Ultimate to play Fortnite through Xbox Cloud Gaming. All you need is a Microsoft Account (you can create an account for free, if you don't already have one), which you can use to sign into (opens in new tab) on any supported, browser-enabled device. You're able to play Fortnite completely for free using both touch controls or a compatible Bluetooth controller.

Notably, this means that Fortnite is once again available on iOS devices, as long as you're willing to stream it over the internet. Xbox Cloud Gaming is available through the browser on iPhones and iPads, as well as Android and Windows PCs, semi-ending the Fortnite ban on Apple devices. You'll need relatively capable internet in order to stream Fortnite, which is already an intense online-connected game, but you now have that option.

For a small subset of users, this may also mean that Fortnite can now be played on the Steam Deck, where it's not officially supported. Xbox doesn't explicitly mention Fortnite on Valve's handheld console, but Xbox Cloud Gaming is available on Steam Deck in a "testing" capacity. Players can access the streaming service through the browser and play the entire Xbox Cloud Gaming catalog from their Steam Deck.

Fortnite is the first free-to-play title Microsoft has added to the Xbox Cloud Gaming catalog, and it apparently won't be the last. The company is looking into adding other popular free-to-play titles in the future, further increasing the value Xbox Cloud Gaming has for gaming while on the move. There are already a lot of great games on Xbox Cloud Gaming, but Xbox seems intent on expanding that pool to new areas, starting with the addition of Fortnite. Xbox Cloud Gaming now boasts of over 10 million players (opens in new tab), and Fortnite's arrival is bound to attract a few more.

Zachary Boddy
Staff Writer

Zachary Boddy (They / Them) is a Staff Writer for Windows Central, primarily focused on covering the latest news in tech and gaming, the best Xbox and PC games, and the most interesting Windows and Xbox hardware. They have been gaming and writing for most of their life starting with the original Xbox, and started out as a freelancer for Windows Central and its sister sites in 2019. Now a full-fledged Staff Writer, Zachary has expanded from only writing about all things Minecraft to covering practically everything on which Windows Central is an expert, especially when it comes to Microsoft. You can find Zachary on Twitter @BoddyZachary.

  • Hmmm.... Not that I play this crap, but I like the direction this might be heading. Maybe one day we can stream the games we own.
  • That's what I always hoped for with xCloud. To be able to stream any game that I have paid for.
  • That has been reported to be on the roadmap.
  • It's pretty obvious if you think about it but it's also something these articles don't say: this is only for xcloud supported regions.
    These bombastic positive news headlines often forget to mention that caveat, and might make unsuspecting readers create false expectations. Microsoft still being Microsoft and expanding very slowly if at all regionally.
  • It is unavoidable: cloud services depend on local connectivity to ensure a viable quality of service, which means MS owned hardware. That kind of investment is prioritized based on market potential. Streaming XBOX games to a rabid PS region might be a waste of money vs a region with a healthy XBOX community.
    For all the talk of Gaming Everywhere, money still talks.
  • Yesterday, Sweeney tweeted commemorating. He highlighted the freedom of not needing a subscription or the 30% Apple tax. I have no horse in a race between two billionaire companies, but I found his hypocrisy to be very annoying. If I recall correctly, I have to pay my GamePass ultimate subscription to use the service and, furthermore, Microsoft will probably take 30% off in any transaction in his game.
  • I think the article says that there is no need to even subscribe to the Ultimate....
  • Interesting, I haven't noticed this. I wonder if Epic is paying for the service or Microsoft believes it will drive more subscriptions.
  • Both.
    See, this is a test case for "the other shoe" to drop.
    Take a broader look: xcloud on TV - MS gets a native streaming app on Samsung and Roku TVs (and dongles). The TV vendor is going to want a piece of the pie. MS could pay a bit upfront. And keep on paying from the subscription. Suboptimal. Better way: the app comes with an ad-insertion mechanism for *some* games where tbe game publisher make their money off ads and microtransactions. MS stays clear of tbe ad stuff. (That is what was recently reported right here.) The games in question are either free to play or rentals or actual digital sales. The publisher would be the one paying tbe TV guy and MS. So MS pays (once!, maybe not even that) to get the app out. The TV might come bundled with a controller (most likely) or just the XBOX wireless hardware. Controller optional. Added controllers?Money for MS. Plus it grows the ecosystem. Just because a user is only doing Free to play tody doesn't mean they won't buy a game or subscription later. Consumers get tbe free app which is useful *without* any gamepass subscription, just a "free" MS account. Which ties in to the app game store, where they find Free to play games, free trials, rentals (?), discrete sales, or (big win for MS, EA, UBISOFT, others) a choice of subscriptions. The menu of subscriptions would run the gamut from single publisher cloud only to tbe full Gamepass Ultimate.
    The TV vendors gets a small percentage of recurring revenue, publisher get access to a potentially huge platform that won't demand 30% every time the gamer breaths, and MS get a third gaming platform to monetize their games on. As Spencer said, he's not after the 100m console gamers, but the billions with phones, tablets, and TVs. So bottom line is this is *big* news it explains how MS is going to maximize the reach of xcloud on TV. It's a dry run. And don't forget that once the Activision deal closes, MS will own Candy Crush et al.
    And the hands-off ad system will be very enticing to all the phone free to play game publishers. MS might even take some of their older (360) games to make tbeir own Free to play games as gateways to the newer versions. Say HALO ODST or FALLOF REACH campaign. Maybe CRIMSON SKIES or Perfect Dark. All paid for games. Subscription-free cloud gaming is going to be very profitable for everybody, including gamers.
    Well, everybody tied into Gamepass, anyway. 😁
  • Am I missing something? It doesn't show as an option in the game pass app on Android...
    So you HAVE to do it through the browser?
  • Yes, it is only available through the browser.
  • That is the whole point: bypassing the apps, and (30%) appstores.
    Sneaky, right?