Epic revealed that over 15 million people have already side-loaded the beta version of Fortnite on their Android devices. This is a pretty impressive milestone given its limited release. And that Epic is bypassing the Google Play Store.
“In the first 21 days since the Fortnite’s launch on Android, interest has been extremely high, with over 23 million players entering our Android beta and over 15 million players installing [the game],” the Fortnite team writes. “While we are in an invite-only phase for Android, our conversion from players being invited to playing is similar to that of the iOS beta.”
For the three people who are unaware, Fortnite is a runaway success story that is already so influential that it is changing how shooter-style video games are made. The title earned over $100 million on iOS in its first 90 days of availability. And it has completely overshadowed PUBG, a game that inspired Fortnite’s creators to copy its basic gameplay.
But Epic went down a very controversial path when it decided to forego the Google Play Store, at least initially on Android. The game launched first on the Samsung Galaxy Note 9 and has since been available via a limited, invite-only system by which users have to side-load the game via the Internet, bypassing Google’s app store.
Google lashed out at Epic for this immediately by finding and then instantly publicizing a security flaw in the Fornite installer. Epic, as you might imagine, wasn’t amused. And it has addressed this issue, somewhat, in its post.
“The only legitimate source for Fortnite for Android is directly from Epic through the official Fortnite Installer,” the company notes during a discussion of all the fake Fornite installers that have appeared online. “We have hired a third party IP and anti-fraud enforcement agency to expand our policing efforts.”
If only there was a safe app store to use for this kind of thing. I guess that’s how Google justifies the 30 percent it takes.
Anyway. It’s hard to argue with 15 million installs. Especially for an unfinished game that doesn’t support, among other basic functionality, game controllers yet.
“Shipping the same game across all platforms while supporting cross-play presented a unique challenge,” the Fortnite post explains. “Usually, when trying to scale a game down for mobile devices, you simplify the content and even design, in order to fit within the performance constraints of the platform. In Fortnite, Android players can be in the same match with their friends on PC and console, so we must render everything that affects gameplay.”
Given the diversity of Android hardware and the high-end requirements of a game like Fortnite, it is perhaps not surprising that 92 percent of users are running Android 8 Oreo or newer, with most on very new hardware.
“Fortnite for Android [is] the first console and PC game to ship on Android with full cross-play and compatibility and the first blockbuster game to ship outside of the Google Play store,” Epic notes in its final jab at Google. “It was an immense undertaking and learning process, but the rapid adoption by over 15 million Android users shows that this approach is sound and can be very successful.”