Samsung has announced what was expected—that the popular Fortnite game will be exclusive to its smartphones for up to 90 days. That is the time anyone using other Android phones will have to wait to play the game. To say that Fortnite, developed by Epic Games and currently available on the Apple iOS devices such as the iPhone and iPad as well as some other platforms, has been a revelation—and that is an understatement.
In June, Epic Games, the developers of Fortnite confirmed that the game has 125 million registered players across iOS, Windows PC, Xbox One, PlayStation 4 and Nintendo Switch.
Samsung and Epic Games have confirmed that the Fortnite game will be available for devices such as 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. Samsung users can access this game now on their devices, and will be able to download this from the Samsung Game Launcher app. Samsung will also bundle $150 worth of V-Bucks, which is Fortnite’s in-game currency, when you preorder the Galaxy Note 9 in some parts of the world. What was missing all this while was Android, but that checklist has been ticked off. With a dotted tick, perhaps, instead of a dark, thick tick to assert a point.
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. Whichever way you look at it, that is a lot of money.
Till now, if you wanted to download Fortnite on a mobile device, it is available only for the Apple iPhone. After a significant wait, the game is now available for Android devices as well. Epic Games had confirmed last week that it intended to bypass the Google Play Store route, to serve you the game. Epic CEO Tim Sweeny had said in a tweet, “Everyone active in the Android ecosystem, including Google, manufacturers, carriers, and now Epic Games, will need to work together to maximize the security of Android as an open platform. We recognize we're taking on a big responsibility here and take it seriously.”
The point of contention is the 30 percent cut that Google takes for all sales made through the Play Store—while Fortnite is free to download and play, it does rely on optional in-game purchases to make money while making the levels easier for gamers.
Once it does became available across the Android ecosystem, Fortnite will be available on a wide range of Android phones including the OnePlus 6, OnePlus 5T, Google Pixel phones, Huawei P20 and P20 Pro, Nokia 8, Razer Phone, Xiaomi Mi 6, Asus Zenfone 5Z and Asus ROG phone.
Epic Games suggests that once Fortnite becomes available for other Android phones as well, it will be via a traditional download from its website. Users of older Android versions will need to do the complex and perhaps unsafe task of enabling the option to install apps from unverified sources on their device, to install Fortnite. The recent Android 8.0 and Android 8.1 Oreo variants have enhanced security and don’t need any change in settings, but Google’s own recent numbers suggest that just 12.1 percent of all Android devices globally run these newer Android versions.
While Fortnite has been a raging success on iOS, the phased roll-out on Android, which means limited users will get access to the game initially, could mean that the game isn’t as hot a property in the Android ecosystem.