The saga of Fortnite on Android has had a lot of ups and downs as Epic Games tried to avoid paying the Play Store’s cut of in-app purchases, but things could have been very different if Epic Games had accepted a deal offered by Google which would have paid $147 million just to get the game on the Play Store.
Fortnite launched to Android in 2018 by direct install as well as through Samsung’s Galaxy App Store. The game was an immediate hit, but also immediately plagued by problems due to the nature of its installation, which was via sideloading.
Prior to that somewhat messy debut, though, Google offered Epic Games a deal to get Fortnite in the Play Store. The deal was revealed this week during the ongoing Google vs Epic Games trial. Google’s VP of Play partnerships Purnima Kochikar confirmed that the deal was approved by Google, but Epic Games never accepted it. If it had been accepted, the $147 million payout would have been delivered incrementally over the course of three years, ending in 2021.
As noted by The Verge, the goal behind this was to keep Fortnite in the Play Store and to avoid a “contagion” of Android games being distributed via sideloading. Google was concerned that all top game developers would depart the Play Store and distribute on their own, which would have costed Google billions in lost revenue.
In 2020, Epic Games briefly did put Fortnite in the Play Store, only to introduce direct payments a few months later, resulting in Google (and Apple) removing the game, and Epic immediately filing a lawsuit just hours later. Epic filed the same lawsuit against Apple, which went to court over the past few months and resulted in an overall loss for Epic.
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