In a surprising move, Epic Games has announced that Fortnite is now available for download on the official Google Play Store. For the last 18 months, Android users were forced to download the game using a Fortnite Installer program, found directly on the game's official website. Epic opted to use this method as opposed to the Google Play Store, as the Fortnite publisher disagreed with Google's strict 30% fee on in-game purchases. While the publisher has relented and agreed to an official Play Store release, it's clear that no concessions have been made on Google's part, and Epic is not happy with having to release the game through Google's official channels.
“After 18 months of operating Fortnite on Android outside of the Google Play Store, we’ve come to a basic realization,” Epic said in a 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.”
The move will surely make it easier for Android users to find and download Fortnite, but it's easy to understand Epic's frustration with the situation. Since the game's release, the publisher has fought hard to assert as much possible control over distribution and monetization of the game. Epic Games CEO Tim Sweeney has often decried Apple and Google's practices, referring to them on Twitter in the past as "iOS and Google Play payment monopolies."
It will be interesting to see if that 30% charge from the Google Play Store will be passed on to the consumers, in any significant way. While Epic has been forced to pay Apple a similar fee since the game released on iOS, Android has a higher global market share.
In the past, Epic has been quick to point out that they are not merely looking for Google and Apple to lower fees on their games, but for games in general. For that particular reason, the company has praised options such as Nvidia's GeForce NOW, seeing it as a way that players can stream games on the go, without having to use Apple and Google's platforms.
Are you happy to see Fortnite added to the Google Play Store? Should Apple and Google lower their fees? Let us know in the comments or share your thoughts directly on Twitter at @Marcdachamp to talk all things gaming!