When Epic announced in 2018 that it was bringing Fortnite to Android phones, it was a huge moment. For one, one of the biggest games of all time was finally available for mobile devices. For another, Epic sidestepped the Play Store and Google’s cut by only offering the game via a third-party installer. A year and a half later, Epic has given in to Google’s terms.
Fortnite fans will now find the game listed in the Play Store and will receive updates directly from Google. As a result, more phones will be able to play the game and Epic will pay Google 30 percent of all in-app purchases, having failed in its bid to get an exemption due to terms that Epic deemed “illegal in the case of a distribution platform with over 50% market share.”
Epic’s change of heart isn’t without some hard feelings, however. In a statement, Epic blasted Google’s treatment of non-Play Store apps and took some liberal swipes at Google’s business model: “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.”
In its defense, Google has made great strides in reducing the amount of malware on Android by discouraging users from downloading apps outside of the Play Store. Despite Epic’s intentions to deliver a safe, secure download, Google can’t promise that security flaws and vulnerabilities will be patched on a regular basis like they are in the Play Store, nor can customers be certain that they’re not downloading a fake installer. Google has implemented numerous steps to check for malware both before and after apps are installed in order to maintain a high level of security.
Epic already offers Fortnite on the App Store for iOS devices, where Apple doesn’t allow installation of third-party apps.
Fortnite Chapter 2 Season 3 has been delayed to June 4 due to the pandemic, but the studio promises “fresh gameplay, new Challenges, bonus XP, and a couple more surprises” along the way. Just this week, the game teamed up with Travis Scott for “a one of a kind musical journey” featuring outfits, emotes, and the world premiere of a brand new song. The event begins Thursday at 7pm.
This story, “You can finally play Fortnite on your Android phone without side-loading” was originally published by
Michael Simon covers all things mobile for PCWorld and Macworld. You can usually find him with his nose buried in a screen. The best way to yell at him is on Twitter.
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