Analysts play Fortnite on iPhone via GeForce Now. Verdict: Fail

“We see much lower graphic details than native app, making our iPhone 13 Pro’s high-end OLED display feel like a 4-year old phone’s.”

From a note to Oppenheimer clients by analysts Martin Yang and Angie Song that landed on my desktop Thursday:

We were accepted into the limited time close beta for above mentioned Fortnite since yesterday and have multiple session of hands-on experience. Our view has not changed relative to our original note (details in link). We conclude that many layers of friction regarding player sign-up, cost of streaming, and performance compromises will prevent such solution from going mainstream. We do not expect other mobile publishers to follow.

We tested the close beta with iPhone 13 Pro, connected to home Wi-Fi (Verizon Fios Gigabit) with a GeForce Now Founder Membership. By cloud streaming standards, the experience was very good. The game is quick to load, properly shows the inventory under our Epic Account ID. The touch interface feels no different from the native app. While we played through multiple sessions without game-breaking issues, we did notice occasional lag. The biggest short-coming of cloud streaming experience is the noticeable downgrade in image quality. We see poorer resolution, and much lower graphic details than native app, making our iPhone 13 Pro’s high-end OLED display feel like a 4-year old phone’s.

My take: Apple has nothing to fear on this particular front. To quote the note…

We conclude that many layers of friction regarding player sign-up, cost of streaming, and performance compromises will prevent such solution from going mainstream.

13 Comments

  1. David Emery said:
    This review shows the desperation that Sweeney is in. Putting a high end graphics program through this many layers of redirection is going to degrade the experience. But “making our iPhone 13 Pro’s high-end OLED display feel like a 4-year old phone’s.” is pretty brutal!

    8
    January 22, 2022
  2. Kirk DeBernardi said:
    Karma’s a b*tch.

    5
    January 22, 2022
    • Robert Paul Leitao said:
      Kirk: Thanks for the laugh!

      2
      January 22, 2022
  3. Roger Schutte said:
    That this workaround for playing Fortnight actually works is wonderful news and further proof that Apple doesn’t have a monopoly on iOS games. Kudos to Sweeney and Epic for hindering their cause and giving Apple more ammunition against antitrust regulations.

    12
    January 22, 2022
    • Robert Paul Leitao said:
      Roger: That may be the only thing about this “solution” that actually works. For consumers, maybe it will work for those with low expectations. It won’t work for most Apple customers but it might work for members of Congress.

      5
      January 22, 2022
  4. Robert Paul Leitao said:
    We knew this already just from the way the “solution” was described. If Epic wants to ensure an engaging experience for its Apple customers, settle with Apple.

    Keep it simple. Get it right. Go back on the App Store. Settle with Apple. Don’t torture your customers. It’s not good for business or your customer. Customers will give up Epic. They will not give up their Apple products. Has anybody tried to talk to this guy? Never mind…

    5
    January 22, 2022
    • David Emery said:
      Sweeney’s ego won’t let him Do The Right Thing. The Board should find someone who will.

      3
      January 22, 2022
      • Robert Paul Leitao said:
        David: I believe Mr. Sweeney is the majority shareholder (50%+) with reportedly 40% of the company owned by Tencent Holdings. It’s a privately-owned enterprise and not a publicly traded company at this time.

        1
        January 22, 2022
  5. Bart Yee said:
    This review is under almost best case scenario home options. The highest performing and OLED display iPhone 13 Pro with A14, a Fios Gigabit fiber optic broadband connection and all that gives a degraded graphics and some lag.

    On a mobile cellular application not on wifi or 5G, I’d assume similar problems and probably more lag. On a 5G, it may be comparable to Wifi. Gamers with older iPhones, especially earlier than the iPhone 12 may see even worse display graphics.

    Assuming iOS gamers are willing to pay extra for GeForce Now, many would probably accept the degraded graphics to be able to play Fortnite. Players who deem the graphics unacceptable would probably just continue to sit out or switch to another game. I suspect many many iOS gamers are going to grumble even more at Epic. Good for them.

    4
    January 22, 2022
  6. Michael Goldfeder said:
    You can’t spell Dope without “Epic.”

    2
    January 22, 2022

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