Since Apple pulled Fortnite from the iOS App Store earlier this month, some eBay users apparently paid thousands of dollars for iPhones with a playable, pre-installed copy of the game. Starting tomorrow, however, those devices will no longer be able to play the latest version of the game.
“Apple Blocks” Fortnite updates and new installs on the App Store and has said they will end our ability to develop Fortnite for Apple devices,” Epic wrote in an update to the FAQ this morning. FortniteThe newly released Chapter 2 – Season 4 Update (v14.00), will not release on iOS and macOS on August 27.”
In other words, because the game’s online servers require the latest version to be installed, Fortnite will finally be completely unplayable on iOS devices starting Thursday.
[Update, 8/26 at 3:10p ET: iOS players who have previously downloaded the game will actually be able to continue playing the current Version 13.40 “Chapter 2 -Season 3” update on iOS, as well as subsequent versions on other platforms. Progression in the Season 3 Battle Pass will no longer be possible on any platform, however, and iOS players won’t be able to crossplay with players on later versions on other platforms. Ars regrets the error.]
Android users can still install and play the latest update by downloading it directly from Epic or from The Samsung Galaxy Store on compatible devices.
A fool and their money?
It has been clear that FortniteThe approaching sunset on iOS has been coming at least since August 13, when Apple first pulled the frequently-updated game from the App Store. But that didn’t stop hundreds of enterprising eBay sellers from selling their Fortnite-enabled iPhones on the site for now.
“Don’t miss the opportunity to continue playing this great game!” read a representative list that started yesterday. As if that weren’t bold enough, that listing also had the audacity to say that a game with over 100 million iOS downloads was “rare.”
It’s not surprising that some of them Fortnite-enabled iPhone listings were asking for ridiculously high prices above the MSRP, ranging from thousands to tens of thousands of dollars. Surprisingly, some eBay users were apparently willing to pay those high prices.
An Ars search of recent successful iPhone sales on eBay last week found 32 listings selling for $2,000 or more. That includes an offer that sold for $11,100 after an apparent four-day bidding war. For context, the most expensive stock iPhone currently sells for $1,449 brand new.
A market crash?
Does this mean that your iPhone with a copy of Fortnite is suddenly a coveted collector’s item? Not necessary. First, despite the apparent outliers (some of which can be fraudulent bidding situations), the majority of eBay listings for Fortnite-equipped iPhones go well under $1,000 for more reasonable prices.
That makes this situation different from the discontinuation of the PS4 horror demo in 2015 PT At the time, the vast majority of systems sold with the game up front were running for hundreds of dollars more than used consoles without the game, according to an Ars analysis of completed listings.
For another it is not clear that iPhones with Fortnite are more prone to ridiculous price inflation than regular iPhones. Earlier this month, for example, an iPhone 11 Pro Max without Fortnite installed sold on eBay for nearly $10,000, although a new one could be bought from Apple for thousands less. Similar examples of iPhones going for suspiciously high prices on eBay aren’t hard to find, even without Fortnite‘s influence.
Most importantly, today’s news from Epic makes it clear that an iPhone Fortnite installation will soon have limited tangible value for current players. Until and unless Apple and Epic resolve their differences in court (which could take months or even years), there will be no way to play the latest version of the game on an iOS device.
Sure, that iPhone copy of Fortnite may still have value as a historical oddity. As a Twitter user @mistydemeo put it earlier this month“The rarest iPhone in the world has authentic copies of both Flappy Bird and Fortnite†