When the gaming phenomenon Fortnite finally arrived on Android, it came in the side door. Developer Epic balked at Google’s 30% take of all revenue on the Play Store and hosted its own download, forcing players to search for “what the hell does side-loading mean” (and inadvertently giving Google a little more cash). After 18 months, Epic has thrown in the towel.
Fortnite is now available on the Play Store as a direct download, just like its iOS counterpart on the App Store. Here it is. You can click it. And download it. And play it. Right now!
Speaking to Polygon, Epic said that Google puts all downloadable apps outside the Play Store at a disadvantage with “scary, repetitive security pop-ups, restrictive manufacturer and carrier agreements and dealings, Google public relations characterizing third party software sources as malware.” And there’s probably a grain of truth to it, too—Google makes a ton of money off of the Play Store.
But let’s not pretend that Epic is fighting for truth, justice, and holy American capitalism here. Epic didn’t want to cut Google into the billion-dollar empire that is Fortnite. They never made the same stink about bringing Fortnite to iOS—because in Apple’s walled garden, there’s no option to take your ball and go home. And Epic’s only coming to the Play Store now because some accountant decided that the threshold was crossed, and there were no more players that could be reached away from the official distribution channels.
But for end users, the corporate pissing contest doesn’t really matter. Fortnite’s on Android, and it’s on the Play Store too. Have fun.