This is why Fortnite, the world's most popular game, isn't on Nintendo's Switch - and might never be

Getty Images/Michael Kovac
  • “Fortnite” is the most popular game in the world right now, yet it’s not available on Nintendo’s wildly popular Switch console.
  • Fans have been clamoring for the game on Switch for months.
  • A job listing seemingly outed a Switch version of “Fortnite,” but the studio is denying it.

No, “Fortnite” still isn’t on the Nintendo Switch.

The outrageously popular game and the outrageously popular game console are a match made in heaven – a near-perfect marriage of two pillars of video-game zeitgeist.

And yet, “Fortnite” isn’t on the Switch.

The news this week that the game may arrive on the Nintendo Switch in the imminent future, according to a since altered job listing from Chicago game studio Iron Galaxy, was already shot down by the company on social media. The job description pointed to Iron Galaxy’s previous works as such (emphasis ours): “…the critically acclaimed Killer Instinct, and Divekick; which are complimented by our technically superb Fortnite and Skyrim Switch ports.”

The listing has since been altered to remove the mention of “Fortnite,” but otherwise remains the same.

Fortnite (mobile)Epic Games‘Fortnite’ on iPhone/iPad is already available, with an Android version ‘coming soon.’

A “port” is a new version of an already existing game, but for a different platform. For example: A game developer creates and launches a game on the PlayStation 4, then another studio “ports” that game to the Xbox One.

Iron Galaxy is a studio known for its port work – it would make a lot of sense if it were the studio behind “Fortnite” finally coming to Switch. And the job listing makes a strong argument.

As the job listing points out, Iron Galaxy worked on a major Nintendo Switch port before: 2017’s “Skyrim.” Additionally, it notes Iron Galaxy’s experience working with major publishers (Microsoft, Capcom, Nintendo) on large, online games like “Killer Instinct.” The studio even produced its own online fighting game in “Divekick.”

“Fortnite” developer Epic Games isn’t saying, nor is Iron Galaxy (we asked).

But Iron Galaxy’s Twitter account did respond to one inquiry, calling the listing, “poorly worded” and pointing out the company’s work on the iOS version of “Fortnite.”

Fortnite: Battle RoyaleEpic GamesBummer.

But this is far from the first time that the concept of “Fortnite” on Switch has come up.

Way back in February, Chance the Rapper was openly petitioning Nintendo for “Fortnite” on Switch:

Even the star power of Chance couldn’t push Epic into revealing its hand.

We were given the following statement at the time by an Epic Games representative: “We’ve seen Chance getting wins on his Instagram stories, and we’re excited he likes the game. We don’t have anything to announce regarding platforms other than PlayStation 4, Xbox One, PC, and Mac, but we’ll make sure Chance is one of the first to know if we do.”

Months later, and there’s still no official announcement of “Fortnite” coming to Switch. So what gives?

That’s not entirely clear, but there’s at least one good reason why the world’s most popular game hasn’t shown up yet on the world’s most popular new game console: The Switch simply isn’t that big yet.

Super Mario OdysseyNintendo

At just shy of 20 million units sold, Nintendo’s Switch is quickly gaining on Microsoft’s Xbox One and Sony’s PlayStation 4 – but it’s still far from caught up.

Estimates put the Xbox One lifetime sales somewhere in the realm of 30 to 50 million units, and Sony has officially sold over 70 million PlayStation 4 consoles. The other platforms where “Fortnite” is available – PC, Mac, and iOS – have far larger audiences than any video game console. And the next platform that it’s coming to, Android, may be the largest yet. And keep in mind: Epic Games has limited resources, and must prioritise future ports based on reaching as many people as possible.

It’s no surprise that Epic would want to focus on those platforms over the Nintendo Switch, even with Switch’s meteoric rise. Still, with somewhere in the ballpark of a quarter billion dollars coming in monthly from “Fortnite” according to Superdata, it makes sense to put the game as many places as possible – to make it as accessible as possible to as wide an audience as possible.

Thus, the Iron Galaxy job listing seemed credible. It may turn out to be nothing more than a poorly-worded sentence, as the company said, but it wouldn’t be surprising at all if it were a slip-up.

With E3 2018 just a few weeks away, the annual video game trade show in Los Angeles, the time is right for just such an announcement.

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