When Fortnite launched on mobile in 2018, Epic Games very notably sidestepped the Google Play Store and pushed users to download the title directly from their website, an effort made to avoid the substantial revenue cuts that Google takes from in-app purchases of Play Store downloads. At the time, the move was understandable for Epic, which was sitting on the hottest free-to-play game of the year that was pulling in substantial revenues from in-app purchases.
After 18 months of harsh rhetoric regarding platform gatekeeping, Epic Games says that Fortnite is now available for download on the Google Play Store, though it will still be downloadable from fortnite.com moving forward.
“Google puts software downloadable outside of Google Play at a disadvantage, through technical and business measures such as scary, repetitive security pop-ups for downloaded and updated software, restrictive manufacturer and carrier agreements and dealings, Google public relations characterizing third party software sources as malware, and new efforts such as Google Play Protect to outright block software obtained outside the Google Play store,” an Epic Games spokesperson said in a statement. “Because of this, we’ve launched Fortnite for Android on the Google Play Store.”
Epic Games withholding Fortnite from the Play Store was a very clear threat to Google’s app profits, though Google argued that downloading Android software outside of the Play Store presented a clear security threat to users who could unknowingly download malware from less reputable sites.
Epic Games clearly isn’t happy with the roadblocks Google has put up to dissuade users from downloading software from the web as well as the blanket warnings Android delivers regardless of whether the publisher is considered a trusted one.
For now, it seems Google has maintained the upper hand, though Epic Games clearly isn’t satisfied with their dealings with Google.
“We hope that Google will revise its policies and business dealings in the near future, so that all developers are free to reach and engage in commerce with customers on Android and in the Play Store through open services, including payment services, that can compete on a level playing field,” Epic Game’s statement further read.
We’ve reached out to Google for comment.