If you ask me what is craze? I would say “Fortnite.” Unlike Pokémon Go, Fortnite’s sensation has been simply increasing with the time. Despite its popularity, a vast chunk of people is missing out on Fortnite. You ask me why? Because the game is still not available on Google Play store, the official app store for Android devices.
However, the unavailability of Fortnite on Playstore doesn’t mean that Android users will miss out on the fun of Fortnite. As an alternative, developer Epic Games will make the game available through an earmarked installer on its website so as to avoid the 30% revenue that Google would receive to emcee the title on its Play store.
Tim Sweeney, the CEO of Epic Games said, “The company wants to have a direct relationship with our customers on all platforms where possible… physical storefronts and middlemen distributors are no longer required. We believe gamers will benefit from competition among software sources on Android.”
Steve Bailey, a games analyst with IHS Technology said, “For any developer, going outside the established distribution channels and opting for a direct-to-consumer will be a major challenge, particularly on mobile where getting users to register and share payment details is an issue. The strength of the buzz around Fortnite means it should be able to overcome the hurdle of getting core users to download outside Google Play, but it will also need to ensure a smooth and trusted payment process.”
Sweeney further added to his statement, “Avoiding the ‘store tax’ is a part of Epic’s motivation. It’s a high cost in a world where game developers’ 70% must cover all of the costs of developing, operating, and supporting their games. There’s a rationale for this on the console, where there’s enormous investment in hardware and marketing campaigns in broad partnership with publishers. But on open platforms, 30% is disproportionate to the cost of the services these stores perform.”
The decision has raised some eyebrows. Since the game is not hosted on a trusted site like Google Play store, there is the probability of Android users unintentionally downloading the game from a fake site, therefore baring themselves to malware. Furthermore, to access Epic’s installer, users are required to switch off a function premeditated to protect against malware.
Other publishers have pointed out towards the fact that there are already third-party stores available on Android— it’s just that most users don’t visit them or don’t find the reliable. Epic countered by pointing out that majority of the handsets let the users customize the sites according to their needs, and also the open market approach also works on PC where there are several third-party stores accessible.
Patrik Wilkens, vice president of mobile at Spil Games indicated towards the disadvantages by saying that, “In most markets, it would be brave to ignore Google Play. The main disadvantage is that you make it much tougher for your game to be discovered. Amazon, Samsung and a number of other Android stores represent a fraction of the Android user base.”
Speculations are being made that Epic is eyeing a new lucrative market-China- where Google Play is barred. Being banned until 2015, over 580 million people play mobile games while games consoles are still struggling to gain a foothold in the country.
The Chinese tech conglomerate Tencent partly owns Epic Games. The company also runs its own highly successful Android stores, giving Fortnite access to a large user-base. The company further launched Player Unknown’s Battlegrounds, Fortnite’s close rival in China, where it is proving to be a hit.