Since its arrival on the Android platform 2 years ago, Epic Games’ popular battle royale game Fortnite has had a love-hate relationship with Google. As such, at the start, Epic Games withheld Fortnite from the Play Store, offering it, instead, through its own website as well as Samsung’s Galaxy Apps Store.
The bone of contention? The 30% cut that Google usually takes from developers’ earnings.
It wasn’t until April this year that Fortnite, finally, became available on the Google Play Store.
4 months down the line, the game has been withdrawn from the Play Store and we are back where we started.
Unlike in the first instance where it was Epic Games that withheld its game from the Play Store, the recent delisting was done by Google. Reason? Well, Fortnite’s developers went ahead and implemented their own in-app payments system that bypasses Google’s thereby denying the latter the 30% cut from its revenues and going against its own terms.
“Developers offering products within a game downloaded on Google Play or providing access to game content must use Google Play In-app Billing as the method of payment,” Google states on the Google Play policy centre.
The same fate has befallen Fortnite elsewhere with the popular game being kicked off Apple’s App Store.
However, unlike on Apple’s platform where the Cupertino-based company has strict end-to-end control of both the hardware and the software in its ecosystem, things are different in the Android world. Developers of the apps that can be installed on Android devices are at liberty to avail their apps on third-party app stores and repositories and have them downloaded and installed from there directly by the users, bypassing the Google Play Store. Google will even check them for any security risks.
This is what Epic Games has exploited from the start in order to be able to distribute Fortnite through its website. The website is still the primary place for Android users looking to download the game and get the latest updates can turn to.
For those with Samsung devices, that means that access to the Samsung Galaxy Apps Store is guaranteed. From there, the Fortnite installer can be downloaded and the rest of the required game data will be fetched from Fortnite’s own servers. At least that was the case the last time I checked.
Even though Epic Games has limited Fortnite’s availability on other popular third-party app stores, it can still be found at APKPure from where it can be downloaded and installed.
Where else should Epic Games make Fortnite available? Huawei’s AppGallery?