Rumors abounded last week when a leak seemed to indicate Fortnite wouldn’t be using the Google Play Store as a distribution method for the Android version of the game. The datamined code seemed to point to Epic offering an installer directly from their website, bypassing Google Play entirely. Today, Epic confirmed that this info is correct and that Fortnite won’t be offered on the Google Play Store.
Unlike iOS, Android readily offers the ability for users to install apps through APK files outside of the Play Store. The advantage to using this method for Epic Games is that it can bypass giving Google 30% of the cut on Fortnite revenue if it doesn’t use the Google Play platform.
Fortunately for Android users, installing APKs outside the app store isn’t a very technical process, and Fortnite‘s website will have detailed instructions on how to do so. However, one disadvantage to this method is that it makes it much easier to trick people into installing malicious clone apps. Through the Play Store, there’s at least some automated protection against these, and there are usually telltale signs to spot the ones that slip past that.
For downloaded APKs, though, those with malicious intent can clone an app in a way that’s virtually indistinguishable from the real thing from the outside. With a good chunk of Fortnite‘s audience being made up of kids, you can bet that phishers, spammers, and hackers will be having a field day.
Fortnite for Android is coming out soon, but the method of delivery for the app might be in question. The game is slated for release this summer, but it might not come from the Google Play Store. A Fortnite Android leak has appeared that seems to point to the game bypassing the Play Store entirely.
Will Fortnite be on Google Play Store?
According to info found in Fortnite Mobile page source code on the official website (via XDA Developers) users may have to download and install Fortnite for Android manually. Unlike iOS, Android users can download and install APK files outside of the approved app store, though there are some extra steps to doing so.
The big pointer to Fortnite for Android not being on the Play Store is the text found in the Epic Games website code. It prompts the user to “download and install Fortnite through your browser,” with a second page explaining that a player will be prompted with security permissions when trying to install the game. The biggest giveaway is the sentence, “This is necessary to install any app outside of the Play Store.”
Why Isn’t Fortnite on the Google Play Store?
So the big question is: Why isn’t Fortnite Android on the Google Play Store? Well, the answer is likely simple: money. While most companies put their game on Google Play Store for the free publicity and legitimacy of the platform, Fortnite doesn’t have to worry about either of these things. Fortnite is such a significant property that Epic doesn’t need the listing on the Play Store to drive players, and people trust the name enough that they’re not going to be chased off by a few security warnings.
The Google Play Store takes 30% of all sales from apps. If Epic Games goes their own way and provides their own billing system, then they get to keep all that money. This isn’t an option on iOS since that platform doesn’t typically allow users to install apps outside the Apple App Store. However, since it is an option on Android, it makes sense that Epic would want to keep that chunk of money if possible.
Take all this with a grain of salt, though. Plans change, and this page could just be a test by a web designer. We won’t know for sure until we get an official announcement from Epic Games.