Epic says game streaming services compete with PC. Except when they dont.

Fortnite on iPhone
Fortnite on iPhone (Image credit: iMore)

You don't need to be following along particularly closely to know that Apple and Epic Games are about to do battle over Fortnite, the App Store, and Apple's assertion that it should take 30% from all transactions related to the two. Epic says it shouldn't. Apple says it should. Which multi-billion dollar company is right, I don't know. But I do know that Epic isn't as squeaky clean as CEO Tim Epic, nee Tim Sweeney would like to make out.

A story broke yesterday that points out Epic won't allow Fortnite onto Microsoft's xCloud game streaming service. Joe Kreiner, Epic's vice president of business development, says that xCloud is a direct competitor to the PC. Which it might be.

But Fortnite is available on Nvidia's GeForce Now game streaming service. Which is also a competitor to the PC. So what's the difference?

The difference, in case you haven't already read between the lines here, is that Microsoft takes 30% of the cut from Epic whenever someone buys Vbucks in Fortnite. Nvidia, by contrast, does not.

The Verge:

Fortnite is a free-to-play game on Xbox, and the only way to currently access the game on an iPhone is through Nvidia's GeForce Now cloud gaming service. Epic Games partnered with Nvidia last year to launch Fortnite on GeForce Now and has helped Nvidia offer a number of other games from its PC game store on the Nvidia cloud gaming service, where all of the revenue from the original game's purchase or any in-app purchases goes back to Epic rather than Nvidia. As far as Epic is concerned, the game is simply running on a PC.

Both GeForce Now and xCloud would give gamers on iOS a way to play Fortnite and buy Vbucks. But only one gives Epic Games the full 100% purchase price. And only one has been given the rights to run Fortnite.

Epic Games, ladies and gentlemen.

Oliver Haslam

Oliver Haslam has written about Apple and the wider technology business for more than a decade with bylines on How-To Geek, PC Mag, iDownloadBlog, and many more. He has also been published in print for Macworld, including cover stories. At iMore, Oliver is involved in daily news coverage and, not being short of opinions, has been known to 'explain' those thoughts in more detail, too.

Having grown up using PCs and spending far too much money on graphics card and flashy RAM, Oliver switched to the Mac with a G5 iMac and hasn't looked back. Since then he's seen the growth of the smartphone world, backed by iPhone, and new product categories come and go. Current expertise includes iOS, macOS, streaming services, and pretty much anything that has a battery or plugs into a wall. Oliver also covers mobile gaming for iMore, with Apple Arcade a particular focus. He's been gaming since the Atari 2600 days and still struggles to comprehend the fact he can play console quality titles on his pocket computer.