Fortnite, the game that has set the charts alight this year, is still in the midst of a rather laborious arrival on Android. Epic Games, the developer of Fortnite, has taken a rather opinion-dividing measure of bypassing the Google Play Store to offer the game on Android devices. And then there is the Samsung-exclusive pact to contend with too, initially. According to data from app store intelligence firm Sensor Tower, the fact that Epic Games is not using the Play Store to distribute Fortnite for Android, will cost Google somewhere in the tune of $50 million for the remainder of this year.
According to numbers shared by research firm SuperData Research in May this year, Fortnite had generated $296 million in the month of April across all platforms it was available on. It is also estimated that Fortnite will rake in as much as $2 billion in revenue this year, for developer Epic Games. Sensor Tower expects that when Fortnite rolls out for all compatible Android devices over the next few days and weeks, the revenue numbers it generates will be close to, and potentially even more, than the first couple of months on the Apple App Store.
Android users can now sign up for the Epic Games website to join the beta, and install the game once the beta registration is accepted. The Fortnite game on Android will be available on the Google Pixel 2 XL / Pixel 2 / Pixel XL / Pixel, Asus Zenfone 5Z, Asus ROG Phone, Huawei P20 Pro / P20 / V10 / Mate 10 / Mate 10 Pro / Honor Play / Honor 10, LG G5 / G6 / G7 ThinQ / V20 / V30 / V30+, Nokia 8, OnePlus 6 / 5T / 5, Xiaomi Mi 5 / 5S / Mi 6 / Mi 8 / Mi Mix / Mi Mix 2 as well as the Essential PH-1, to name a few. At present, Fortnite for Android is exclusive for Samsung devices including the Galaxy Note9, Galaxy S9, Galaxy S9+, Galaxy Note8, Galaxy S8, Galaxy S8+, Galaxy S7, Galaxy S7 edge, Galaxy Tab S4 and Galaxy Tab S3.
In fact, Google seems a tad worried. Now, if you search for Fortnite on the Play Store, you will get a message on the search results page which says Fortnite Battle Royale by Epic Games is not available on Google Play.
The Play Store is the official application store for Android phones, and this is usually preloaded on Android smartphones that you buy. The way the app store arithmetic works is that whenever a user does a purchase on the Play Store, a share of that purchase amount goes to Google. A lot of apps and games now offer in-game purchases as well, and a cut from that also goes to Google. At present, Google charges 30 percent of share from all sales made via the Play Store.
Alternatively, it could alienate a lot of potential gamers, who might not be entirely convinced about opening up their Android phone to install apps from potentially unverified app sources, which in turn puts their data at risk. The process is known as “sideloading”—and this is generally not recommended for most users, unless you really know what you are doing and what the source of the app that you are sideloading is. The security risk is that when you install apps bypassing the Play Store, you also bypass Google’s security checks.
Epic Games wants to not share that 30 percent with Google. "30 percent is disproportionate to the cost of the services these stores perform, such as payment processing, download bandwidth, and customer service," Epic CEO Tim Sweeny has said publicly. Perhaps there is a sense that the game is popular enough, and users will download and install the game on their Android devices even though it’ll not retain the convenience of a download from the Play Store. Sensor Tower also suggests that Apple has made as much as $54 million from Fortnite, since the game became available on the Apple App Store earlier this year for all users. Apple also charges 30 percent from all sales made on the App Store for iPhone and iPad users. Incidentally, downloading apps from third party stores and attempting to install them on iOS devices isn’t at all easy.