Epic Caves And Releases Fortnite On Google’s Store, Has Weird Opinions About Android Apps

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Epic Caves And Releases Fortnite On Google’s Store, Has Weird Opinions About Android Apps

Fortnite was released on Android devices around 18 months ago, but only as a standalone download, not as part of Google’s Play Store. That puts apps at a big disadvantage because people only tend to download apps through an official store, so Epic has finally relented and made Fortnite available there.

In a statement sent to The Verge, Epic explained their decision came as a result of:

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.

Sounds scary! But…most of it isn’t true? Side-loaded apps on modern Android phones will prompt the system to ask the user once if they really want to install an app from an unknown source, and if you say yes, that’s the last Android will ever make of the issue. Anyone who has ever used anything from Aptoide to Popcorn Time to Pornhub, and that’s millions of people, could tell you that.

So for Epic to just come out and say that, when we all know it’s not true, is wild.

Or not, when you consider that the company had to say something up front other than the more obvious truth, that they simply didn’t want to be paying the 30% cut that Google takes from all Play Store sales. Which is only addressed at the end of their statement:

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.

That’s the meat of this, and it’s something we all know and have discussed to death. Anyway, the decision was clearly made not because of Google’s non-existent scare-mongering, but because most folks will only download apps from the Play Store because…that’s the place you find and download apps from on your phone.

Please note that Fortnite has been available on Apple’s App Store, which also takes a 30% cut, since 2018.

Comments

  • Er, they’re not actually that wrong, just perhaps being a little dramatic about it all. There is a lot of risk in loading anything that isn’t on the Google Play Store onto your Android device as the frequent articles about hundreds of thousands to millions of malware infected devices attest to.

    Which is why the whole thing was a bad idea from the start because Epic were encouraging people to do things that was the equivalent of getting people to click links in an email. While it may be ok in this one instance, it starts to encourage behaviour that we’ve been repeatedly told is dangerous and fraught with peril, especially when you aren’t that tech savvy.

    As the article summarised though, it’s just more of Epic’s scumbag tactics of purporting to be trying to make a difference when really all they’re doing is trying to get as much money for themselves as they can.

    • It’s 100% this.

      Remember when Epic were accused of using the EGS as malware, because it was rummaging around in your Steam folders to collect your friend-list information? They insisted it was completely benign and it very likely was, but it’s terrible, terrible, terrible practice and the only reason they did it was because they didn’t want to use Steam’s API – the legit, best-practice, more secure/trustworthy, industry standard way – to collect that information.

      The reason they made this bone-headed, utterly unethical move (that they very quietly apologised for and reversed) is most likely because they knew Steam could report on how many API calls were being made etc, and they’re very much in industrial espionage/digital cold war mode right now.

      At every turn, every single thing they’ve ever said about improving the state of gaming for consumers is self-serving, lip-service bullshit. They are interested in one thing and one thing only, and it’s keeping as much as possible within their control. If that means being anti-consumer, then in their opinion, the consumer can get fucked.

  • Please note that Fortnite has been available on Apple’s App Store, which also takes a 30% cut, since 2018.

    I wonder if they were able to negotiate more favourable terms with Apple rather than the standard 30%, but Google weren’t quite so willing to play ball.

    • I think the reality is more you can’t sideload apps on iPhones, where as you can on Android phones (and Google Play is technically an addon).

      • Hmm you’re probably right. I think PSN and XBL also take a similar cut and that didn’t prevent them releasing it there, either, probably for the same reason – there’s no other way to get onto those platforms.

    • Making money is fine! The criticism isn’t about that. It’s about lying to try and make money. And yes, God and whoever else should absolutely forbid companies lying and undertaking other unethical behaviour to make money.

      The pursuit of money is not in and of itself a noble goal that excuses bullshit behaviour.

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