Technology

Fortnite added to Play Store over Google ‘disadvantage' row

Epic Games had tried to bypass the Play Store to avoid a 30% cut the tech giant takes from each sale.

Fortnite can be downloaded through the Google Play Store for the first time, after developers blamed Google for putting software not on the platform at a “disadvantage”.

Epic Games, which makes the popular battle royal title, decided to bypass the Google Play Store when it first launched on Android in August 2018, to get around a 30% cut the tech giant takes from each sale.

Company boss Tim Sweeney previously told The Verge that 30% “is disproportionate to the cost of the services these stores perform, such as payment processing, download bandwidth, and customer service”.

Although Fortnite is free to download it generates revenue from in-app purchases.

Epic Games initially tried to get around the Play Store by directing users to a special download on the official Fortnite website.

This was made possible because Android is an open platform, unlike Apple’s iOS which is ring-fenced and requires all software made for iPhone and iPad to be vetted and approved by Apple and distributed via the App Store.

However, Epic Games said it changed its mind because of measures such as “scary, repetitive security pop-ups for downloaded and updated software” of apps not downloaded from within the Play Store.

“After 18 months of operating Fortnite on Android outside of the Google Play Store, we’ve come to a basic realisation,” the firm said in a statement.

“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 characterising third party software sources as malware, and new efforts such as Google Play Protect to outright block software obtained outside the Google Play store.

“Because of this, we’ve launched Fortnite for Android on the Google Play Store.

“We’ll continue to operate the Epic Games App and Fortnite outside of Google Play, too.

“We hope that Google will revise its policies and business dealings in the near future, so that all developers are free to reach and engage in commerce with customers on Android and in the Play Store through open services, including payment services, that can compete on a level playing field.”

Google has been approached for comment.

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