Epic Games has confirmed that when Fortnite Battle Royale releases on Android phones it won’t be sold through the Google Play store. In an email to The Verge, CEO Tim Sweeney said this was in part to avoid the 30% cut Google takes on in-app purchases for games sold through its storefront.
“The 30 percent store tax is a high cost in a world where game developers’ 70 percent must cover all the cost of developing, operating, and supporting their games,” Sweeney told The Verge. The CEO went on to say that he thinks this amount is disproportionate to the services Google provides on open platforms like Android where the company that maintains the operating system is separate from the hardware manufacturer.
Sweeney said the other reason for distributing Fortnite on Android using its own installer program was to “maintain its direct relationship with consumers.” This is similar to PC, where players have to open Epic’s proprietary launcher to play the game.
The news confirms rumors that began circulating earlier in the week, but it remains to be seen how much of an encumbrance this direct distribution model will be for Android users. Running software on an Android device that bypasses the Google Play store also means forgoing certain security and privacy protections, through Sweeney downplayed these concerns in his statements to The Verge, comparing how its installer will work to services like Blizzard’s Battle.net. On smartphones, however, Blizzard distributes its card game Hearthstone through the Google Play and Apple stores just like any other app.
Fortnite is already available on the Apple store after launching in April. There’s still no set date for when the game will launch on Android.