The immensely popular free-to-play battle royale game ‘Fortnite’ will be launching soon on Android. Epic Games announced back in May that Fortnite Mobile on Android would launch this summer but the company has yet to officially announce a release date. Our own source informs us that the game will launch as an exclusive for the Samsung Galaxy Note 9 which will be unveiled on August 9th. Earlier today, we discovered a list of Android smartphones that’ll support Fortnite Mobile on Android once it launches, but we also discovered evidence that the mobile game may not be available on the Google Play Store.
Hidden within the source of the Fortnite Mobile page on Epic Games’ website are lines that instruct users on how to download and install the game on their Android smartphone.
Redditor /u/thesbros managed to get Epic Games’ website to display the images that walk the user through the setup flow. Here’s what it looks like:
The first image that’ll be shown to the user instructs them that Fortnite Mobile on Android will be downloaded through the web browser. The second image tells the user that, after they download the app, they’ll be “prompted with some security permissions” which likely refers to enabling installation from unknown sources. The description states that this is necessary “to install any app outside of the Play Store.” If Epic Games were to offer Fortnite Mobile on Android via the Google Play Store, it would be odd for this setup process to not direct the user to the Google Play Store to download the app. (Selecting one of the supported iOS devices on Epic Games’ website prompts you to download the app from the App Store.) So why would Epic Games not offer Fortnite on the Google Play Store?
Fortnite Mobile on Android – A Non-Google Play Store Download?
Epic Games has had such incredibly quick success with Fortnite that many people are unaware just how much of a juggernaut the game has become. A recent report by Sensor Tower Blog states that, in the first 10 days of Season 5, the iOS release netted Epic Games $2 million per day. Total mobile revenue has thus far reached $150 million since launching on March 15th. Fortnite Mobile on iOS is clearly a major source of revenue for Epic Games, but the company loses out on 30% of their profits because of Apple’s App Store rules. Since all of Fortnite’s in-app purchases are consumed in-game and are not usable externally, Apple takes a 30% cut on all sales. The only truly practical way for companies to reach a large audience on Apple devices is to offer their content via the App Store, so companies can’t really avoid revenue sharing with Apple if they want to sell their content on iOS.
On the other hand, Android does not block users from installing applications sourced from outside of the Google Play Store. Distributing an app on the Google Play Store means an app will have higher visibility and reach a larger audience, but a high-profile title like Fortnite should have no problem with user discovery. If Epic Games were to distribute Fortnite Mobile on Android via the Google Play Store, then they would lose out on 30% of all sales as apps distributed within the Play Store must use Google Play In-app Billing. If Epic Games decides to forego the Google Play Store and have users install the game from their own website, then they can use whatever in-app purchase solution they wish and not be subject to Google’s 30% cut on sales. If we assume that revenue from Android users reaches $2 million per day, then Epic Games would not have to lose out on $600,000 per day if they distribute the app outside of the Play Store. (We should note that iOS users are known to spend more on apps and games than Android users are willing to spend, so we can’t say if Fortnite Mobile on Android will be as profitable for Epic Games as Fortnite Mobile on iOS is.)
How Epic Games will distribute the upcoming battle royale game on Android isn’t confirmed, however. The images and text on the website are certainly convincing, but official confirmation won’t arrive until the company announces the release. We reached out to Epic Games for comment and will update this article should we hear back. We suspect that we’ll learn more during the Samsung Galaxy Note 9 launch, though.
Note: A few months back, some users noticed a Play Store testing page for an app suspected to be Fortnite Mobile on Android. The package name matches the iOS package name, so it’s definitely possible that this listing is for the real Fortnite. However, since the listing is unavailable for users, there’s no way to verify whether that’s true or not. If this listing is indeed real, it’s possible that Epic Games is using the Play Store to ease internal beta testing of their app.
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