Fortnite Is Ditching the Google Play Store

Posted on August 3, 2018 by Mehedi Hassan in Android with 18 Comments

Fortnite maker Epic Games could be getting ready for a big fight with Google. The company today announced that Fortnite for Android will launch on its own launcher, instead of the Google Play Store. Epic Games will make Fortnite’s launcher for Android device available from its official website, which can be users to then install the game on their Android devices. The firm is yet to announce a release date for Fortnite on Android, but it should be just around the corner.

So why exactly is Fortnite ditching the Google Play Store? Well, according to CEO Tim Sweeney, the firm wants to have a “direct relationship” with its customers on platforms where possible. For instance, instead of distributing Fortnite through Steam, the firm has its own launcher on Windows. But the bigger reason behind the move could be to do with the 30% revenue cut on the Google Play Store.

Epic doesn’t seem to be too keen on passing on 30% of its revenue to Google. The firm is making millions out of Fortnite across all platforms so that 30% cut could be a substantial portion of the revenue it makes on Android. “The 30 percent store tax is a high cost in a world where game developers’ 70 percent must cover all the cost of developing, operating, and supporting their games. There’s a rationale for this on console where there’s enormous investment in hardware, often sold below cost, and marketing campaigns in broad partnership with publishers.” Sweeney told The Verge.

That’s all good, but it’s likely Google with fire back here. You see, Fortnite is the most talked about game right now, and it’s been growing rapidly recently. The game makes millions of dollars for Epic, and combined with the fact that the games changes and evolves so rapidly, Google will be missing out big here. Fortnite for iOS is available through the App Store, but that’s because Epic doesn’t have any other distribution channels on Apple’s locked-down platform.

And let’s not forget that Google is rumoured to be investing big on a gaming console. So it’ll be fascinating to see whether Google will be picking a fight with Epic here, or whether it’ll maintain a good relationship for the future — where it’ll most likely want Fortnite to be one of the launch titles for its gaming console, considering the game’s popularity is sustained in a few years time.

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Comments (19)

19 responses to “Fortnite Is Ditching the Google Play Store”

  1. Avatar

    maethorechannen

    considering the game’s popularity is sustained in a few years time.


    Pretty big if.


    It's hardly the only battle royale game out there. Not sure why they would want to increase friction for their players (well, other than the obvious one of greed). What's next, expecting iOS users to jailbreak their phones?

  2. Avatar

    the_sl0th

    I wonder if they will recoup the 30% that Google Play Store takes, if >30% of potential users are unable/unwilling to sideload the app.....

  3. Avatar

    ben55124

    Google likely welcomes this Epic experiment. Google could bring this up to EU. Epic can distribute Fortnite for android with or without google play services. Try doing that on iOS.


    Every game developer is likely watching.


    Not sure if this is a good thing for users - I like to see $ go to devs, but there are benefits to getting apps vetted through the play store. I don't want an app store (or apks) for every developer.

    • Avatar

      Chris_Kez

      In reply to ben55124:

      I imagine Google has already made it clear to the EU that Android users have the option to side-load apps; it wasn't germane to the EU's recent ruling. This is going to cost Google millions of dollars; I cannot imagine they welcome this.

    • Avatar

      Darekmeridian

      In reply to ben55124:

      I don't know about the benefits of apps being vetted through a store, so far none of the stores are doing this very well with articles about apps being purged by the tens of thousands.


      Pre any app-store getting software from the developers site was the best way to get software. Did that change?



      • Avatar

        maethorechannen

        In reply to Darekmeridian:


        Pre iOS app store stores like the one for Symbian were good at keeping the trash out. Probably because to get an app up there was both difficult and expensive. You'd not see much change from 1000 USD after getting all the certs and vetting done to get on Ovi.


        The downside was that you didn't get all that many apps.

  4. Avatar

    jrickel96

    I don't see how Google will be fighting back. With how big Fortnite is globally, they could be playing with antitrust fire in Europe if they try something. They can't cut a special deal with Epic because then everyone else will be angry.


    If Fortnite is successful in doing this, other games will do the same. There will be many that will still need the Play Store for discovery, but we could see the emergence of alternate stores.


    Epic could launch their own competing store with lower revenue charges for microtransactions. They have the clout right now to do that and could further monetize Fortnite that way while offering an alternative to Play on Android. Epic has a chance to greatly subvert Google's control over the Android ecosystem.


    If Samsung were smart, they'd buy Epic and use them to subvert Google. With how huge Fortnite is, they could put a dent in Google's hegemony on Android and fragment control of the platform. It could put Samsung in a position to control their own popular storefront and ditch Google Play entirely.


    Imagine if Epic basically launched a Steam type service for Android and also included standard apps in that store.

    • Avatar

      Chris_Kez

      In reply to jrickel96:

      Agree with most of these points; this is going to hurt Google and there's nothing Google can do. As far as Samsung buying Epic, yeah it could give them leverage to tweak Google even further, but Tencent already owns 40% of Epic and has spent a lot of money preparing to bring Fortnite to China. I don't see them or Tim Sweeney wanting to cash out at this point.

      But as long as we're talking about someone buying Epic games to take the piss out of Google, how about if Microsoft swooped in with a huge cash bid to fortify their their overall position in the gaming market while also subverting Google's control over Android? Couple this imagined Microsoft-owned Android storefront with new rules from the EU saying Google has to let OEM's make AOSP phones alongside their Android/Play Store phones. You could end up with Samsung selling an optional version of the Galaxy S10 running a Microsoft-made Android fork. Lol.

      • Avatar

        jrickel96

        In reply to Chris_Kez:

        Tencent has been having issues this year, so Samsung swooping in and buying out Epic could also provide them with some cash infusion after losing so much market cap. Since they are a minority owner I would guess Epic could sell outright - hard to know what the deal with Tencent exactly entails.


        Microsoft would be more interesting than Samsung and I'd guess Epic would be much more likely to sell to MS than anyone else. They have done a good job as caretakers of different companies and allowed quite a bit of independence. Take a look at Minecraft as an example, but I think Microsoft under Nadella's leadership would be appealing. That would also give MS control of Unreal and control of one of the biggest gaming franchises in the world to go along with Minecraft.


        Tencent's 40% stake was only $330M, so a sale now would make them good money if Epic sold at this point for their 40% stake.

        • Avatar

          Chris_Kez

          In reply to jrickel96:

          From your lips to Satya Nadella's ears; but there's no love lost between Tim Sweeney and Microsoft. He's about as likely to sell to Microsoft as Gabe Newell, and they're not likely to enter a hostile deal.

          • Avatar

            jrickel96

            In reply to Chris_Kez:

            Markus Persson wasn't likely to sell either. I don't foresee it really happening, though MS makes much more sense than many others in tech if you're going to sell. GitHub found that out. I doubt Epic would sell, though TenCent could push more for that in an attempt to monetize their stake while the getting it good. They may not have a controlling interest, but enough clout to push hard for something.


            If TenCent pushes for that and you're Epic would you rather go to Google or Microsoft? Who do you think would better preserve that you had built? I think that answer right now is pretty clear. Old MS would not have, but the current iteration has proven that they can and will.

    • Avatar

      the_sl0th

      In reply to jrickel96:


      There is only one thing worse in my mind then imposing an app store on users, and that is imposing multiple app stores. For all iOS faults, at least there is only one store.

  5. Avatar

    obarthelemy

    Teaching every kid to sideload stuff onto their phone. Nice work, EA.

  6. Avatar

    doak

    which can be users to then install the game

  7. Avatar

    jimchamplin

    Hey cool! Another platform for me to not play Fortnite on!


    Until the zombie defense fort construction mode - which was demoed in what? 2015? - is in the game, I give exactly zero damns.

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