Epic Games announced that its highly-popular Fortnite game will soon be available for Android, but it will not come through the Google Play Store. Users will be able to download it directly from the company’s website. Through this move, Epic will save on the 30 percent cut that Google demands for Play Store apps, as well as have a more direct relationship with its customers.
Cutting Out the Middleman
The most likely reason to keep Fortnite out of Google’s Play Store is because Google demands a 30 percent cut for every paid app or paid feature of an app. Fortnite is a free-to-play game, but it offers plenty of in-game purchases in the form of V-Bucks.
That’s where Google could come in to take its cut. Apple is already taking its cut from the iOS version of Fortnite, but Epic said that because Apple allows iOS apps to be installed only through the iOS platform, the gaming company had no choice but to offer its game through the iOS App Store.
Epic Games’ CEO, Tim Sweeney, told The Verge that the 30 percent cut that platforms such as the Apple App Store and Google’s Play Store charge is a disproportionate amount compared to the payment processing, download bandwidth and customer service they offer.
Taking Back Control
Epic Games also suggests that it would enabled the company to have a more direct relationship with their customers, and he intends to take advantage of that on the platforms where this is possible.
Sweeney was also one of the original and most vocal critics of the Microsoft Store and the Universal Windows Platform, arguing that they would enable Microsoft to control what apps and games Windows users can install on their machines. They would also put Microsoft in a position to charge a commission for every Windows app users install in the future.
The Google Play Store is already blocked in China (although that could change soon), so Sweeney said that Android users there are already familiar to downloading the apps they want either directly from developers or from other third-party stores. Epic Games is currently exploring the option of including Fortnite on various third-party stores in China, but it has nothing to announce at this time.
How Android Users Will Be Able To Play Fortnite
In order for Android users to be able to play Fortnite, they’ll have to first download the app from Epic Games’ website, and then check to enable installing apps from unknown sources when that particular Android prompt appears.
Android keeps installing apps from unknown sources disabled by default for security reasons. However, Sweeney doesn’t think installing Fortnite from an external source will present any security risks for users.
Additionally, he said that modern permission-based mobile operating systems enable users to choose whether or not they want to give apps access to saving files, using the microphone and so on. Sweeney thinks that all operating systems should provide security this way, rather than allowing a single store owner to decide what users can or can not install.
Epic Games hasn’t announced an official release date for Fortnite for Android yet, but rumors said that it may first be available on the upcoming Galaxy Note 9, which Samsung will announce on August 9, next week. Eventually, the game should be available on other devices, too.