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“Fortnite” power move of the day: Android version will avoid Google’s app store

“Fortnite” power move of the day: Android version will avoid Google’s app store
[Image: courtesy of Epic Games Inc.]

Epic Games is making a power move as it brings Fortnite to Android phones: Instead of distributing the game through the Google Play Store, Epic will ask users to download it from the company’s own website, The Verge reports. Depending on your Android version, you may have to venture into your phone’s security settings, enable “Unknown sources,” and disregard Google’s warnings about the potential dangers you’re about to unleash. (For what it’s worth, Google does scan apps from outside the Play Store for malware.)

Most apps can’t get away with making users jump through those hoops, but Fortnite, which already has more than 125 million players, presumably can. And by skipping the Google Play Store, Epic can keep all the in-app purchase revenue for itself. On the iPhone, Fortnite is already making roughly $2 million per day. Epic stands to keep a lot of money out of Google’s coffers once the game lands on Android.

Epic’s motivations are also partly philosophical. CEO Tim Sweeney told The Verge that distributing the game directly lets the company have a direct relationship with customers, and will avoid “entrusting one monopoly app store as the arbiter of what software users are allowed to obtain.”

Sweeney has been an outspoken critic of closed platforms in the past. A couple years ago, he wrote that the games industry must oppose Microsoft’s attempts to establish an app store on Windows, arguing that it could jeopardize the vibrant third-party ecosystems that flourished on the platform. Sweeney’s remarks to The Verge carry the same sentiment, and while Apple’s iOS stands little chance of becoming an open ecosystem, Android presents an opportunity to take action.

Fortnite still has no release date on Android, but it’s rumored to be exclusive on Samsung’s upcoming Galaxy Note 9 for its first 30 days.

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