The hype surrounding the debut of Fortnite for Android is, needless to say, massive. Users are extremely excited for this launch, but the details surrounding it are looking pretty bleak…
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If you’ll recall last week, it was revealed in source code that Epic Games was potentially skipping distribution of Fortnite through the Google Play Store and, instead, offering the APK through its website. Now, Epic’s CEO has confirmed that.
Tim Sweeney, CEO of Epic Games, sat down with VentureBeat this week to discuss Fortnite, and the Android release was a big topic. One of the key takeaways, first off, was that the game won’t be available through the Google Play Store. Instead, Epic will distribute the Android release as an APK download through its own website. Sweeny explains:
We’re distributing Fortnite to Android users from epicgames.com. You go to our website, click the download button, and go through some prompts to download and install Fortnite. There’s no third-party store involved at all. It’s just like the PC experience, the way that PC and Mac users install Fortnite. That now works on Android, which is possible because Android is an open platform.
He further explains that Epic is going this route, firstly, to have a “direct relationship” with its customers. The second (and probably primary) reason, though, is to avoid the “economics of the store ecosystem.” In short, Epic is avoiding the 30/70 split with Google Play for in-app purchases. That shouldn’t be a shock considering the massive amounts of income the iOS release has seen, and those fees still apply on the App Store. On the Android release, payment will be available via credit cards and PayPal.
I’d still argue that this is a huge mistake simply because it’s going to put a lot of users at risk in terms of security, but considering the hold Epic Games has over so many players with this massive hit of a game, I don’t think many are going to complain, and that’s a shame.
On the bright side, Sweeney did reveal a few of the qualifications of Fortnite for Android. It won’t be based on the OS version, but rather the specifications of the device. He says that Fortnite will run on “high-end” Android phones, saying that of the “2.5 billion Android devices in the world or so, 300 million will run it well.” Sweeney also praised development of the game on Android as well.
Our experience in building Fortnite for Android specifically has been really positive. Android is an awesome open platform. It’s underappreciated as an open platform. Since the very beginning it’s supported installation of third-party apps, and with Android Oreo that support has gotten a whole lot better. It’s a really robust framework for ensuring user security and giving users full control over what’s happening on their device. We’re thrilled with it, and we’re excited about that general direction in the industry.
We still don’t know exactly when Fortnite is going to debut on Android, but as we first reported last month, it could arrive exclusively on the Note 9 this month. From there, it may end up being a Samsung exclusive for a while as well.