This is huge news. Perhaps the biggest thing to hit mobile gaming in years. Fortnite, Epic’s extremely-popular Battle Royale game, is coming to the App Store soon! In fact, it is available now, in an invite-only beta release! An Android port should follow in the near future.
This isn’t merely a Fortnite-themed mobile clone, either. This is the real, true version of the PC / console game. It will support cross-platform play between mobile versions and PC, PlayStation, and even Xbox. And because this is a real version of Fortnite, it will even receive weekly content updates and patches at the same time as the other versions.
Gamevice support will not be included in Fortnite at launch, and is not currently supported in the beta. Epic plans to support controllers later in the future. They have concerns about keeping things fair, and are considering requiring mobile gamers with controllers to be kept in the same matchmaking bucket as console gamers, rather than being able to play in the mobile-only lobby.
Epic is looking for additional beta testers to try Fortnite on iOS, before the game goes into wide release. Sign ups are live, so be sure to head to the Epic site and get yourself on the list. Epic will be adding testers over the coming months, but the earlier you sign up, the better chance you’ll have of trying Fortnite early.
Because this is such a new game, in such a new genre, you’d be forgiven for not knowing why this is such a big deal. But make no mistake, this is one of the biggest games in the world right now, and a watershed moment in mobile gaming. Here’s a little history…
Fortnite is part of the somewhat-new Battle Royale game type. The idea is, a bunch of players spawn on a giant map, collect weapons, and try to be the last one standing. The map periodically shrinks its borders, which forces everyone into conflict, which prevents camping. It’s a clever take on the last-man-standing deathmatch game type, which perhaps explains why literally everyone seems to be playing a game like this these days.
PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds (PUBG) was the first of these games on the scene. Throughout its 2017 early access period, PUBG managed to grow from its humble origins as a ARMA 2 mod to over 30 million sales, even overtaking DOTA2 in having the most concurrent players on Steam.
Fortnite was originally launched as a pay-once premium game, called “Save the World”. In this game type, you build a base, then go on missions to collect resources, get back to your base, and use those resources to survive against waves of monsters. Epic founder Tim Sweeney described it as “Minecraft meets Left 4 Dead”. Unfortunately, it didn’t sell well. Shortly after PUBG hit the scene, Epic released a free-to-play, retooled version of Fortnite, which aped the PUBG Battle Royale formula. Since then, Fortnite has taken off like a rocket, even managing to surpass PUBG’s concurrent player record.
Oddly, PUBG’s developers and Fortnite’s developers are both partly owned by the same company, Tencent. Tencent is relatively unknown in the West, but they’re a massive game publisher in China. What’s more, they’ve made a huge push into mobile gaming.
In addition to launching PUBG clones of their own, Tencent has already launched two official versions of PUBG on mobile (for some reason). Sadly, neither have Gamevice support, and we have no idea if support is coming. So in a way, Fortnite is their fourth attempt at a mobile Battle Royale – hopefully this experience will translate into a great mobile release.
Being able to play the real Fortnite, with a real Gamevice controller, against the real console and PC releases, is about as good as it gets for mobile gaming. And it seems like this dream is going to become a reality very, very soon.
If you have any questions about controller compatibility, or want to voice your support for Gamevice and Fortnite, get in touch with Epic on Twitter or on their web site. If the folks at Epic see how much enthusiasm there is for controller support, hopefully it will encourage them to implement it sooner!