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Fortnite Developer Epic Games Criticized Google, And Now Wants to Sell Android Games on Its Store

Fortnite Developer Epic Games Criticized Google, And Now Wants to Sell Android Games on Its Store

And will also take a 12 percent cut from developers too. And this comes at a time when Epic Games is struggling with accusations that it leaked user data to the Chinese government.

Epic Games had a good 2018. In the competition with PUBG, the battle royale game Fortnite helped Epic Games command a valuation of $15 billion, according to numbers shared in September. According to numbers shared by the developer at the same time, Fortnite had already clocked 78.3 million monthly players. By the end of November, Epic Games had confirmed that Fortnite had clocked 200 million registered players. Growth through the year has been phenomenal. There are estimates that Fortnite earns almost $2.5 million a day in revenue, which helped Epic Games reportedly garner $3 billion in profits in 2018.

But it hasn’t all been plain sailing for Epic Games. The developer has been at loggerheads with Apple and Google, over the App Store and Play Store revenue sharing. And now they want to further up the ante. The Wall Street Journal reports that Epic Games CEO Tim Sweeney has confirmed that they intend to sell Android games as well on their application store. The Epic Games Store was launched in December for Microsoft Windows and Apple macOS platforms. Epic Games will reportedly allow developers to keep 88 percent of revenue earned, which means it will garner 12 percent of all sales made on the platform.

At present, the Epic Games Store has, apart from the immensely popular Fortnite, Ashen, Darksiders III, Genesis Alpha One, Journey, Outer Wilds and Unreal Tournament. The lower cut which Epic Games corners on its Store has already Steam, a popular platform for PC games, to reduce its share of earnings it got from developers. Could it have a similar impact on Google and Apple’s revenue sharing policies?

The reality is, Epic Games’ mobile strategy will revolve around Android, since there isn’t much leeway on the Apple iOS platform for similar tactics. That is the reason Fortnite is available on the Apple App Store without much cribbing, whereas Fortnite is still not on the Google Play Store for Android devices (you need to download the launcher directly from Epic Games Store) because Epic Games finds Google’s similar revenue sharing policies to be a problem. Apple and Google keep as much as 30 percent of revenue. "30 percent is disproportionate to the cost of the services these stores perform, such as payment processing, download bandwidth, and customer service," Sweeney had reportedly said last year. Epic Games is happy paying that share to Apple, or so it at least has been, all this while.

According to data by research form Visibly Alpha, revenue earned from the App Store and the Play Store account for as much as 5 percent of the total annual revenue for Apple and Google respectively.

Unfortunately for Epic Games, this show of strength comes at a time when there are accusations that the developer leaked data to the Chinese government. A Reddit user Anmail in a post says, “According to even the TOS, Epic Games Store is literal spyware. They're not even trying to hide it. Their TOS states they have the right to monitor you and send the data to their parent company. And who is Epic's parent company? The Chinese dev that's known for spying for the Chinese government. Tencent. The same Tencent who's working hand in hand with the Chinese Government to work on tools to spy on their own citizens.” Epic Games responded to those allegations. “The language related to sharing data with the parent companies refers to Epic Games Inc. It’s a US-based company. This language exists because when you buy an Epic game in certain territories (like Europe), the seller of record is our local (e.g. European) subsidiary company for tax purposes, but the data is ultimately stored by Epic Games Inc. Tencent is not a parent company of Epic. Tencent is an independent company that’s a minority investor in Epic, alongside many others. However they do not have any sort of access to our customer data,” said Sweeney in a reply to the post. Safe to say, we haven’t heard the last of this.

Epic Games is not the only developer who is having an issue with the revenue sharing policies of Apple and Google. Streaming service Netflix recently made tweaks to its iOS app which removes support for iTunes billing for new and returning customers—effectively taking Apple out of the process of getting people to sign up for new subscriptions or having existing users renew their subscription. Apple at present takes 30 percent revenue for the first year, and if the same user continues the subscription via the App Store payment methods, that share comes down to 15 percent. This comes after Netflix pulled the Play Store billing option for the Android app in May last year.

Also Read | Fortnite Bypassing Google Play Store is a Good And Bad Thing