Fortnite is now freely available for Android on the Google Play Store. The game was previously available outside the Google Play Store as a direct
download from developer Epic Games’ website.
Epic has placed Fortnite in the Play Store 18 months after releasing the game as third-party software downloadable outside Google’s official mobile app marketplace. Epic says it’s only releasing Fortnite on the official Play Store because Google puts third-party software at a disadvantage by warning users of potential security issues that may not exist and characterizing any software not issued through the Play Store as malware.
Now that the game has been placed in the official Play Store, the company will have to pay Google the 30% cut mandated by the Play Store for all in-app purchases. This fee was the entire reason Epic didn’t want to release
Fortnite in an established Android stream like the Play Store. Epic CEO Tim
Sweeney has been a vocal critic of both Apple’s App Store and Google’s Play
Store, accusing both platforms of abusing their respective market positions to charge developers more than necessary. In 2019, Epic stated it asked Google to remove the expectation that apps “use Google’s payment service for in-app purchase.” It said the 30% fee Google requires is “illegal in the case of a distribution platform with over 50% market share.” Google had disagreed. Now, the company says that it is changing its tune because the disadvantages of releasing Fortnite as a third-party software are too great to ignore. This was indeed a wise move, as due to the lockdown put in place by COVID-19, people have more time to kick back and play games, and Fortnite is now available on an entirely new platform. This will definitely increase its appeal and the game’s success exponentially.
Here’s the company’s full statement:
“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.
Because of this, we’ve launched Fortnite for Android on the Google Play
Store. We’ll continue to operate the Epic Games App and Fortnite outside of Google Play, too.
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.”
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