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Google Could Lose $50 Million Due to Fortnite Bypass on the Play Store

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Why has it taken so long for Fornite to become available on Android devices? It doesn’t make sense to me, considering that more people in the world use Android devices than iOS.  And I know that you can play the game on other devices, but come on!  This just feels wrong.  That said, it has finally here.  Well in beta that is, but beta is better than not at all.  But here’s where it gets interesting.  It’s launching first through the Samsung Galaxy App store, and then it will be available to download directly from Epic Games themselves.  What’s missing, you ask?  Fortnite won’t be available through the Google Play Store.  This is a big deal and highly unusual.

Legitimate apps are almost always distributed through the Google Play Store.  It allows someone to “control” the apps that are there and ensure that they’re legitimate and not filled with bugs or viruses etc.  Downloading software from unverified websites is an incredibly good way to install malware.  So having a centralized repository where you can go to download verified and vetted apps really does keep things secure.  I know there are times when some apps slip through the cracks, but one in a thousand is a pretty good track record.

In addition to making sure the apps are in good working order, Google also takes a cut of the revenue.  Which, it seems is why Epic Games is holding back.  This feels a bit petty, doesn’t it?  Yes, this is going to give Epic Games $50 million (to start) that would normally go to Google, but why change the logical flow of things so much?

With the Android launch finally upon us, we project that, based on Sensor Tower Store Intelligence data, Google stands to miss out on at least $50 million in platform fees during the remainder of 2018 due to this unprecedented decision.

Fortnite has grossed more than $180 million so far on iOS devices, where it has been available exclusively since launching March 15 in an invite-only beta that later expanded to all App Store users. Sensor Tower estimates that Apple has made more than $54 million from the game so far via its 30 percent cut of all in-app spending on its store.

We expect that once Fortnite rolls out to the full compliment of supported Android devices, its launch revenue on the platform will closely resemble the first several months of App Store player spending. There is a chance that it will even surpass what we’ve witnessed thus far, based on factors such as the game’s increasing popularity, the growing impact of each new season’s Battle Pass on revenue (these release every 10 weeks), and the potential for players in countries where both Google Play and the iOS version are not available to directly download the APK and spend in the game.

Where does that $50 million come from?  Well, according to data from the firm Sensor Tower, Fortnite has earned Apple more than $54 million thanks to a 30% cut of all the in-app spending.  This is a similar arrangement that Google has, which is where that estimate comes from.  What does this mean for Epic Games?  It could put some pressure on them as well, as they may hear from users who want to have an easier way to download the game.  How is Google responding?  Unofficially – if you search for Fortnite on the Google Play Store, you will get  PUBG as the top hit.  That’s pretty savage on Google’s part, but it’s also kind of amazing.

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