Epic says Google punishes apps not on Play Store, begrudgingly adds Fortnite

Android owners can now download Fortnite from the Google Play Store, but developer Epic Games still isn’t happy with Google’s policies.

Epic felt it had to put Fortnite on the official Android storefront because of how Google treats apps outside its jurisdiction. The studio previously made the free-to-play hit available on its website and app for the past 18 months. However, Android phones warned players of potential malware when downloading apps outside of the store, which Epic believes crosses a line.

“Google puts software downloadable outside of Google Play at a disadvantage,” Epic Games states in a statement issued to Polygon. “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.”

Epic will continue to let players download Fortnite on Android independently despite joining the Google Play Store, but it hopes that Google will revise its policies. Epic believes a level-playing field isn’t possible for apps outside of the Play Store, according to its statements to Polygon. It wants all app makers to be able to reach customers and offer additional payment services.

Epic cited the Play Store’s 30% cut on all purchases as the main driver for its avoidance of the storefront. This is more than double the 12% take Epic gets from the Epic Games Store on PC. Considering Fortnite brings in over a billion dollars in revenue each year through in-game purchases, Google getting such a significant cut would lose Epic revenue on purchases. The developer currently takes in 100% of sales via its independently offered Android version. The company does, however, offer Fortnite on Apple’s App Store, which takes an identical 30% cut.

In 2019, Epic said Google’s practices were “illegal” due to it tying a mandatory payment service to a distribution platform with over 50% market share. Rather than looking for an exemption or a custom deal with Google, Epic said it wants changes made to the entire storefront similar to what Epic offers via its PC store.,

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