Fortnite will arrive in the summer on Android devices, but it will be bypassing the traditional route for app releases, the Google Play store.
This approach had been rumoured, and was confirmed by Epic – with the main reason for the shift in approach coming down to the 30 per cent revenue share payable to Google for every transaction going via the official storefront.
Speaking to Pocket Gamer, Epic CEO Tim Sweeney said we live in an age when bricks and mortar stores and ‘middlemen distributors’ aren’t needed to facilitate accessing customers. Epic can go direct.
With Android operating as an open platform – just like the PC – Epic took a decision similar to how it operates on the latter, where Fortnite isn’t available on third-party stores. Said decision was out of the studio’s hands on Apple devices, of course, where Fortnie is only available in a centralised, ‘walled garden’ fashion via the App Store.
“The 30 per cent store tax is a high cost in a world where game developers’ 70 per cent must cover all the cost of developing, operating and supporting their games,” Sweeney said, “On open platforms, 30 per cent is disproportionate to the cost of the services these stores perform, such as payment processing, download bandwidth and customer service.”
Sweeney accepts the thinking behind these revenue share schemes on console – Fornite is available on PS4, Xbox One and Nintendo Switch – as each has an investment on hardware behind it by the platform holder, as well as marketing campaigns for games provided as part of the service.
It’s not the first time a game has avoided ‘official’ channels on Android, nor is Google the only provider of an apps store – Amazon offers its own version, as does Nvidia for its Shield hardware. But it’s a bold step for Epic to take, and Google is sure to be looking into its options to try and lure Fortnite onto Google Play.