Epic Games has taken the decision to release Fortnite on Android via the Google Play Store. Epic objected to releasing Fortnite on Google Play previously, as it didn't like Google taking its standard 30 per cent cut of all in-app purchase revenue. It has held out for 18 months, distributing its blockbuster game on Android via the 'install unknown apps' functionality of Android. Now its business strategists and bean counters appear to have weighed up the pros and cons of the fees and decided that even such a big cut is worth it.
Providing some deeper reasoning behind the decision, The Verge shared an official statement on the matter. "After 18 months of operating Fortnite on Android outside of the Google Play Store, we’ve come to a basic realization," read Epic's statement. "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."
Epic CEO Tim Sweeney has been a vocal critic of various established app stores like Google Play, Apple's App Store and the likes of Steam on the PC. On the latter platform, Epic even set up its own games store (12 per cent cut), which has gained both notoriety and favour from gamers splitting them with an almost political partisan divide. On iOS there was of course no commercially viable way to protest. On Android, Epic tried to ask for some kind of deal or exemption but even with Fortnite as ammunition, gained no ground.
Epic will continue to operate the Epic Games App and allow sideloading Fortnite and other games outside of the Play Store as an alternative to the Goolge Play Store version.