Since Microsoft’s Xbox Cloud Gaming launched two years ago, more than 10 million people worldwide have streamed games through the service. That number is likely to jump a little higher as a result of a partnership Microsoft hit with Epic Games to offer for free the hit title Fortnite of Epic via Xbox Cloud Gaming. This move will effectively allow people to play Fortnite in a way similar to the way they stream video from companies like Netflix, no matter how powerful their gaming device is.

Contrary to previous efforts, Microsoft said the agreement applies to anyone who wants to play, with or without a subscription. Gamers will be able to play on an iPhone or iPad or a device powered by Google’s Android software, although Apple and Google have banned Fortnite from their respective app stores against the background of an ongoing legal dispute.

“This is just the beginning for us – we will learn, we will apply feedback and over time we will seek to provide even more free to play titles to players through the cloud,” said a statement from Microsoft. The service will be available free of charge in 26 countries, including Australia, Brazil, Japan, Mexico and the United States.

Microsoft’s hit racing game Forza Horizon 5, running on Valve Steam Deck via Xbox Cloud Gaming.

Dan Ackerman / CNET

Microsoft’s offer to offer Fortnite for free through its Xbox Cloud Gaming service comes at a time when gaming streaming technology is still in its infancy. For more than a decade, streaming technology has promised to change the world of video games by offering people a way to play visually complex games. without the need for a heavy computer or a powerful mobile device. But reality has not kept its promise, as companies ranging from start-ups to giants like Google are struggling to deliver on quality or find sustainable business models.

For its part, Microsoft’s Xbox team said it believed gaming streaming would be a key way for people to play but also softened expectations about how quickly it would catch on. However, this has not stopped companies, including Google, Amazon and Netflix from investing in technology as they try to compete with industrial props such as the Xbox, Sony’s PlayStation and Nintendo’s Switch.

Chipmaker Nvidia has also joined the battle, offering streaming games through its own GeForce Now subscription service. Earlier this year, the company also said so will offer Fortnite with touch controls through his service, however still in testing.

Microsoft has said it plans to add more games to its new free-to-play streaming service, especially for mobile devices. The company said Xbox Game Pass Ultimate subscriberswho pay $ 15 a month to access hundreds of downloadable and streaming games now have access to more than 150 streaming games that work with touchscreen mobile devices. So far, the company adds, 20% of Xbox Gaming users use touch exclusively for gaming.

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