Epic decision lands Fortnite in the Google Play Store
You might recall that Epic Games, the company that developed the mega-hit video game Fortnite, never offered the game to Android users directly from the Google Play Store. This was a protest against the 30% cut of in-app revenue that Google takes for purchases made through its app storefront. Instead, Epic developed its own store from where Fortnite could be installed on Android devices. This little end-run was said to cost Google $50 million in fees just during 2018. Since Apple doesn't allow users to sideload apps, Epic did not want to take the app away from iOS users even though Apple takes the same 30% cut. Thus, Fortnite has always been available in the App Store.
But since the world seems to be coming to an end with strange weather patterns, COVID-19, and Apple and Google working together, Epic made an epic decision and decided to list Fortnite in the Play Store after all. In a statement, Epic lists the reasons for its decision which all boil down to the realization that apps offered outside of the Play Store have a major technological and promotional disadvantage.
According to the developer, "After 18 months of operating Fortnite on Android outside of the Google Play Store, we’ve come to a basic realization. Google puts software downloadable outside of Google Play at a disadvantage, through technical and business measures such as scary, repetitive security pop-ups for downloaded and updated software, restrictive manufacturer and carrier agreements and dealings, Google public relations characterizing third-party software sources as malware, and new efforts such as Google Play Protect to outright block software obtained outside the Google Play store. We hope that Google will revise its policies and business dealings in the near future, so that all developers are free to reach and engage in commerce with customers on Android and in the Play Store through open services, including payment services, that can compete on a level playing field."
So now Google will be the 30% beneficiary of Fortnite's success and rabid fan base, which should only get bigger during the COVID-19 outbreak with many around the world stuck at home. The app can now be installed directly from the Google Play Store and continues to be available in the App Store.