Epic Games CEO Confirms That Fortnite Will Not Be Distributed via the Play Store


Epic Games' Fortnite Battle Royale took the gaming world by storm with its unique free to play model. Given the success of the PC and console version of the game, it was only a matter of time before it made its way to mobile platforms. Shortly after its iOS release, the game has raked in millions of dollars in revenue. The only platform remaining in Android, and a report indicated that the game might release alongside the Samsung Galaxy Note 9 and remain exclusive to it for 120 days. Another rumour indicated that Epic Games would distribute the game via their website and not via the Google Play Store. Today, Epic Games' CEO Tim Sweeney has confirmed to The Verge that the mobile game will be distributed from their website and not Google Play. Tim had made the following statement:

Epic wants to have a direct relationship with our customers on all platforms where that's possible. The great thing about the internet and digital revolution is that this is possible, now that physical storefronts and middlemen distributors are no longer required.

Here's the real reason why Epic Games will not use the Play Store

As expected, the main reason why Fortnite won't be distributed via the Play Store is financial. Epic Games does not want to lose 30% of their Android revenue to Google, which is what’ll happen if they choose to use Google Play as their distribution method. Epic Games would have to cough up 30% of all IAP revenue to Google if they distributed Fortnite Mobile on Android via the Play Store. The game is expected to rake in millions of dollars worth of in-app purchases, so 30 per cent of that would amount to a lot of money. Tim had the following to say about that:

Google Denies Epic Games’ Billing Exception Request for Fortnite Mobile

The 30 percent store tax is a high cost in a world where game developers’ 70 percent must cover all the cost of developing, operating, and supporting their games…There’s a rationale for this on console where there’s enormous investment in hardware, often sold below cost, and marketing campaigns in broad partnership with publishers…30 percent is disproportionate to the cost of the services these stores perform, such as payment processing, download bandwidth, and customer service.

Strictly speaking, there is nothing wrong with hosting the game on their website. However, the player base of Fortnite is mostly kids, who won't be able to tell the difference between a legitimate Fortnite APK and a fake one. Currently, several fake Fortnite APKs are online. The situation will only deteriorate after the game is released officially. However, Tim states that gamers “have proven able to adopt safe software practices” and, as evidence, states that “gaming has thrived on the open PC platform through many sources.” He's referring to platforms like Steam, Battle.net, etc. Lastly, he states that Android’s permission system will help protect users by informing them of what an app will be allowed to do.

That is how I envision Android's permission system will help protect users. The game will require a fair amount of permissions as it is. It'll be virtually impossible to differentiate between the real APK and a fake one just by looking at the permissions alone. If Fortnite is indeed restricted to the Galaxy Note 9 for four months, things get much worse. People will attempt to port it to other devices by modifying the APK. It will be as good as a round of Russian Roulette for people attempting to play Fortnite on anything other than the Note 9.

News Source: The Verge