There are a growing number of ways to stream console-quality games to a smartphone or tablet… as long as they’re running Android. Google, Microsoft, NVIDIA, and Amazon have all launched game streaming services in the past year, and Apple’s App Store policies have kept all of those companies from making iPhone or iPad apps available.
But there’s a workaround – there’s nothing stopping game streaming platforms for offering web apps that work with the Safari browser for iPhones and iPads.
That’s the approach that Amazon took when launching its Luna game streaming service this fall. And now it looks like NVIDIA and Google are following suit. Microsoft had previously announced plans to do so as well.
NVIDIA’s GeForce NOW game streaming service is now available in beta for iOS Safari users, which means that you can fire up the browser on your iPhone or iPad, navigate to play.geforcenow.com, and begin streaming.
The basic service is free, and lets you stream games you’ve already purchased for up to an hour at a time. You can also sign up for a GeForce Now Founders membership for $5 per month (or $25 for six months) for longer gaming sessions, support for RTX graphics with ray-tracing, and priority access.
NVIDIA notes that you’ll need a wired or wireless game controller to play most games. Touch controls aren’t available, and there’s no support for games that are only playable with a keyboard and mouse yet.
One particularly interesting side effect of this announcement? Soon you’ll be able to play Fortnite on an iOS device by streaming it through your browser. The popular title from Epic had previously been available from the App Store, but it was booted from iOS (and Google Play) after Epic intentionally flouted the rules of the app store in a protest that led to a series of lawsuits. When Fortnite comes to GeForce Now for iOS Safari, it will support touch controls.
Google’s competing game streaming services isn’t available for iOS just yet. But the company has been working on a Stadia progressive web app that’s designed to be compatible with Safari on iOS devices.
The Stadia web app for iOS is expected to begin rolling out in a few weeks.
All of which is to say that in a matter of months, we could go from no major game streaming platforms being available for iOS to having most of the major players in this space supporting the platform… without submitting anything to the App Store or sharing a cut of revenue with Apple.