In a largely unprecedented move, Epic Games on Friday announced that the Android version of Fortnite will be circumventing the Google Play Store in favor of a direct download from the company's website, as was previously rumored. The Cary, North Carolina-based developer whose hit battle royale game has been breaking revenue and popularity records for the better part of this year said the decision to avoid the world's most popular marketplace for Android apps was a largely economic one, with the firm resolving to ditch the Play Store so as to not share 30-percent of its revenues from Fortnite in-app purchases with Google.
In a prepared statement provided to several media outlets, Epic Games Chief Executive Officer Tim Sweeney said the move away from the Play Store will also help the company maintain a more direct relationship with consumers who play its game, i.e. avoid middlemen whenever that's possible. As a result of the same ambition, the firm didn't launch the PC and macOS versions of Fortnite through Valve's Steam, by far the most popular digital gaming ecosystem on the planet. The Fortnite Launcher for Windows is now set to be replicated on Android as owners of compatible smartphones and tablets will have the mobile game offered through a side-loadable app that will act as an installer and download the battle royale title directly to their handsets. The same solution will also be used for updating the game, as is the case on desktop computers.
Fortnite isn't distributed via Epic's own means on Apple's iOS as the iPhone maker doesn't allow its customers to easily side-load apps that haven't been approved by its content review team, with the same applying to current-generation consoles – Sony's PlayStation 4, Microsoft's Xbox One, and Nintendo's Switch. Mr. Sweeney also isn't convinced by the size of Google's cut in Play Store app profits, having stated that "30-percent is disproportionate to the cost of the services these stores perform," citing the company's own experience with self-publishing Fortnite for Windows and macOS machines. The Android port of the game still doesn't have a firm release date attached to it but the title is likely to debut alongside the Galaxy Note 9 as a timed exclusive of Samsung's latest Android flagship next week. Earlier today, AndroidHeadlines learned that Fortnite may remain exclusive to select Samsung-made devices for up to three more months following the end of the Galaxy Note 9 exclusivity period.