After 18 months, Epic Games is finally giving into Google by adding Fortnite onto the Google Play Store—begrudgingly. Previously in 2018, the free-to-play battle royale game bypassed the Google Play Store to avoid paying a 30% cut to Google, which they deemed to be unfair.
At the time, the move was understandable for Epic Games, which was the hottest free-to-play game of the year. It was pulling in a good amount of revenue from in-app purchases while being able to be downloaded through their official site. They had also been okay with the game being available through the iOS App Store.
However, it seems that Epic Games have been fighting a losing battle, as they officially placed Fortnite up for download on the Google Play Store. An Epic Games spokesperson put out a statement regarding the decision, albeit a bitter one.
“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 characterising 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,” said the spokesperson.
They also said that they hope 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.
Google, though, 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.
Google getting a 30% cut of an app’s revenue isn’t especially unfair, as the iOS App Store also gets 30% of the cut, and their policies operate in an almost identical fashion to each other. We can only speculate that there might be other issues behind closed doors.
Fortnite will still be downloadable from their official site moving forward.