This isn’t the first time Epic has railed against Google’s insistence on a 30 percent take. It pushed for an exemption to the rule and went so far as to call the practice illegal for any platform with a majority of the market. Google rejected the argument, maintaining that its policy lets it “invest” in the platform and that it doesn’t want to play favorites. Epic sells Fortnite on iOS, where non-App Store titles aren’t allowed outside of exceptions like beta tests and enterprise rollouts, but Apple also has a minority of the market.
Whether or not Epic has a case, there’s also a simple business reality at work: it’s easier to bring Fortnite to Google’s store now than it was when the Android version shipped 18 months ago. Many of those who wanted to play on Android have already downloaded it. This is reaching out to that relative minority of people who either couldn’t install from third-party sources or refused to go elsewhere. This may be less a matter of survival and more a bid to scoop up those players who couldn’t (or wouldn’t) download the game before.
“After 18 months of operating Fortnite on Android outside of the Google Play Store, we’ve come to a basic realization:
“Google puts software downloadable outside of Google Play at a disadvantage, through technical and business measures such as scary, repetitive security pop-ups for downloaded and updated software, restrictive manufacturer and carrier agreements and dealings, Google public relations characterizing third party software sources as malware, and new efforts such as Google Play Protect to outright block software obtained outside the Google Play store.
“Because of this, we’ve launched Fortnite for Android on the Google Play Store. We’ll continue to operate the Epic Games App and Fortnite outside of Google Play, too.
“We hope that Google will revise its policies and business dealings in the near future, so that all developers are free to reach and engage in commerce with customers on Android and in the Play Store through open services, including payment services, that can compete on a level playing field.”
— Fortnite (@FortniteGame) April 21, 2020
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