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.