Fortnite for Android Will Not Release on Google’s Play Store

People playing Fortnite on the Nintendo Switch at E3 2018.                  Josh Miller  CNET

People playing Fortnite on the Nintendo Switch at E3 2018. Josh Miller CNET

We have previously already heard about a 1-month exclusivity period for Fortnite on Android, but these earlier rumors did not provide much in terms clarification. 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. The firm is yet to announce a release date for Fortnite on Android, but it should be just around the corner. "There's a similar procedure in adjusting permissions when running Fortnite itself for the first time, but after that, the title sits on your smartphone and loads up exactly like any standard game you may have grabbed from Google Play". Now, Epic Games boss Tim Sweeney has confirmed that Fortnite is not coming to the Google Play Store, instead it will be accessible via a client known as the Fortnite Installer.

"Epic wants to have a direct relationship with our customers on all platforms where that's possible..." The great thing about the internet and digital revolution is that this is possible, now that physical storefronts and middlemen distributors are no longer required. The game is expected to rake in millions of dollars worth of in-app purchases, so 30 per cent of that would amount to a lot of money. However, the player base of Fortnite is mostly kids, who won't be able to tell the difference between a legitimate Fortnite APK and a fake one.

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As for potential security risks or scams, Sweeney said "Open platforms are an expression of freedom: the freedom of users to install the software they choose, and the freedom of developers to release software as they wish". The outlet performed its pre-release test on a Samsung Galaxy S9+. "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".

However, Sweeney later elaborates that Google's 30% cut of the revenue, or the Google Play "store tax" as Sweeney calls it, is also part of Epic's motivation to bypass the marketplace. The existing source code does refer to many specific Android models as opposed to offering a blanket "not on Android yet" response to general Android browser metadata.

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