Epic Games launched Fortnite on Android in 2018 without putting the game in Google’s Play Store; you know, that place where it’s safe and easy to get apps on any Android phone. The reason was that Google, like Apple and others, takes a cut of revenue for in-app purchases on apps and games within the Play Store. As it turns out, Epic Games was considering methods of bargaining with Google about the Play Store cut that, apparently, meant Fortnite for Stadia was at one time an actual possibility.

Fortnite, regardless of how you feel about it, is one of the most popular games on the planet even four years after its initial debut. The game just keeps reinventing itself and making big moves to stay relevant.

It was just a year ago that, finally, Epic Games gave in and brought Fortnite to the Google Play Store, but it wasn’t done without a fight. We had reported just a few months prior that Epic had attempted to just submit the game to the store, in-app billing ignored, which Google didn’t allow. Apparently, around that same time, Epic had attempted another strategy.

IGN reporter Rebekah Valentine claims on Twitter that, before Epic officially launched Fortnite on Google Play, the company had offered to bring the megahit to Stadia in exchange for being given a free pass on the Play Store for Android distribution. That obviously didn’t happen, but it’s interesting to see that Epic apparently made that offer given that their CEO, Tim Sweeny, said in late 2020 that Fortnite for Stadia wasn’t on the road map because the platform lacked a “mass market” userbase.

It would have been interesting to see Fortnite on Stadia given the huge player count that the game drives, not to mention the ease of access Stadia would have provided new players of the game. Still, financially things probably worked out in Google’s favor. Providing an exception for Fortnite in the Google Play Store would have set a dangerous precedent going forward.

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