“Fortnite” will be available on Android, but not on the Google Play Store. Players will be able to download the installer for the game via the official “Fortnite” website, with which they can then download the game onto their compatible Android device.
The confirmation comes from Epic Games just days after speculation rose over whether or not “Fortnite” would come to Google Play, due to source code in the mobile version of “Fortnite” with instructions for users including notes like “This is necessary to install any app outside of the Play Store” found by XDA Developers. This particular prompt is referring to install of “Fortnite” on Android requiring users to select an option on their phone which opens up the device to allow third-party developers to make changes—an action some are calling a security threat.
For Epic, it’s a way to bring the game “directly to customers,” without the aid of a middleman. In a Q&A released by Epic, the publisher stated that, “We believe gamers will benefit from competition among software sources on Android. Competition among services gives consumers lots of great choices and enables the best to succeed based on merit.”
Of course, Google’s 30% for games released through its Play Store is also a motivator.
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“Avoiding the 30% ‘store tax’ is a part of Epic’s motivation,” Epic Games’ Tim Sweeney stated in a Q&A. “It’s a high cost in a world where game developers’ 70% must cover all the cost of developing, operating, and supporting their games. And it’s disproportionate to the cost of the services these stores perform, such as payment processing, download bandwidth, and customer service. We’re intimately familiar with these costs from our experience operating ‘Fortnite’ as a direct-to-customer service on PC and Mac.”
Epic Games also confirmed that it would have done the same for the iOS version of the battle royale game, but Apple is far less lenient than Google when it comes to allowing installation of apps from third-party sources, meaning apps can only be installed through the official App Store.
In response to the question of a security risk for Android users opening up their devices to allow the installation of apps from unknown developers, Epic Games notes that with the freedom of using an open platform comes a responsibility to check the source of software users are installing and only installing from trusted sources.
“Gamers have proven able to adopt safe software practices, and gaming has thrived on the open PC platform through many sources including Steam, Battle.net, Riot Games, Good old Games, and EpicGames.com,” Sweeney stated. “We’re confident Android will be similarly successful.”
The developer also noted the increasingly “robust” security functions of mobile operating systems, which allow users to choose what access various apps have on their phones.
“In our view, this is the way all computer and smartphone platforms should provide security, rather than entrusting one monopoly app store as the arbiter of what software users are allowed to obtain,” Sweeney said.
The decision comes just weeks after Epic announced that the Unreal Engine Marketplace, which provides assets for use in the creation of games, will be decreasing the cut it takes from creators from 30% to 12%.