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We don’t know if anyone’s willing to pay $1,000 or more for a used iPhone whose chief distinguishing feature is that it has a recent install of Epic Games’ Fortnite app, but thanks to some insane listings at eBay, we do know there are plenty of people who are willing to sell one.
A quick “Fortnite phone” search on eBay brings up listing after listing of used iPhone models that tout having a working copy of the game app — though it appears the app’s days on Apple devices are numbered. While $1,000 seems to be the sweet spot that most of the listings hover around, a few are truly bananas — including an iPhone X listing, at least as of today, that seeks a lucky buyer ready to shell out $10,000 — all for the chance to drop in and kick some battle royale butt. Hey, at least they're throwing in a charger.
It does appear that, unless something changes, fully functioning versions of Fortnite indeed are about to become scarcer and scarcer on Apple devices. Via The Verge, Apple made good Friday on its pledge to yank the game from the App Store if Epic didn’t drop its demand to skirt the iPhone maker’s business model, which collects a 30 percent cut from all in-game V-Bucks transactions.
What that means — especially as Epic Games rolls out a steady stream of new content updates for the Marvel-themed Chapter 2, Season 4 that’s just kicking off in Fortnite this week — is a slow death by attrition on iOS devices, as even phones that have a copy of the game won’t be able to receive new updates. In other words, while everyone else is running around the island with the latest Marvel goodies in the next game update, you’ll be stuck wearing yesterday’s duds and wielding what amounts to obsolete weapons. Eventually, wave upon wave of updates will likely shape Fortnite into such a different experience from the one your version was designed for that the game, for all intents and purposes, could become little more than a place for iOS players to log on, stand around helplessly, and watch.
If you’re an iOS devotee who at some point deleted Fortnite from your device, well — as of today, you’re out of luck if you want it reinstalled. The Verge also reports that attempting to restore even previously downloaded versions of the Fortnite app now results in the dreaded “This item is no longer available” message. Thanks to a judge’s temporary stay, though, Apple’s earlier threat to also remove iOS developer tools that would shut off access to Epic’s Unreal Engine has been put on hold — at least for now.
If all this sounds like much ado about a game so ubiquitous that it’s almost impossible to conceive a world in which fans can’t get their hands on it, well, for the most part, it is. Fortnite’s free to play, with Epic making its cash off in-game transactions and V-Bucks purchases for future in-game spending. And aside from a less-severe spat with Google that’s seen the game removed from Google Play (but not from Android’s Epic Games app or the Samsung Galaxy Store), every other compatible device not made by Apple still has the latest and greatest updates for Fortnite — in all their Marvel glory — ready and waiting to install.
From PS4 to Xbox One to Nintendo Switch to PC, the world’s most popular battle royale is still just a free download away — so long as you’re downloading it on anything other than an Apple device. We're just kicking ourselves that we didn't see this coming sooner, because some of us have iPhones that were already due for an upgrade ... and at these prices, we'd have been more than happy to scurry back to our eBay accounts.