When Fortnite first landed on Android Epic Games refused to share revenue with Google and instead used their own installer, only allowing gamers to install the game via their own servers. The reason was of course that Epic saw the 30 percent of the revenue that Google charged as far too high given the popularity and sheer volume of cash Fortnite was making at the time. Now it seems they’ve had a change of heart.
My in-house game tester says that Fortnite is not cool anymore and it’s “trash” but that may just be in his little clique — whatever the case, Fortnite is nowhere near as popular as it once was. According to Edison Trends Fortnite revenue dropped by 52 percent year-over-year from Q2 2018 to Q2 2019. Importantly at it’s peak in December 2018 it was 75 percent higher than Q2 last year. It is still a massive earner for Epic Games though raking in US$1.8 billion last year.
Epic Games though have said that the reason they are listing on Google Play now is due to the “disadvantage” Google places on apps installed outside of the Play Store.
After 18 months of operating Fortnite on Android outside of the Google Play Store, we’ve come to a basic realization:
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.
Because of this, we’ve launched Fortnite for Android on the Google Play Store. We’ll continue to operate the Epic Games App and Fortnite outside of Google Play, too.
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.
The complaint is not relevant to all users though, just those who enable Google’s Advanced Protection on their devices — this protection is opt-in though. At least Google does actually offer the ability to install apps from external sources unlike Apple which does not.
Whatever the reason for moving Fortnite over to the Play Store, it is now there and you can grab it and all future updates from what you know to be a safe and secure platform.