The narrative being presented is that Epic Games decided to not go through Google Play as they didn’t want to give Google 30% of their profits. That seems to be being presented around any articles I can find on Fortnite and it’s very easy to hack installer and not distributing via the Goog.
TL;DR – what if Epic Games wasn’t Big Greedy, and there were reasons clearly spelled out in the Google Play Developer ToS they couldn’t work around?
It’s potentially not as simple as Big Bad Epic Games wants money. There are some particularly interesting things in the Google Play Developer Terms of Service to pay attention to.
I think people have been stopping at the line Developers offering products within a game downloaded on Google Play or providing access to game content must use Google Play In-app Billing as the method of payment and are not seeing down in the Payments section in-app virtual currencies must only be used within the app where they were first purchased.
As the Android platform is most likely your mobile/play at lunch platform over your PC/console, this raises my eyebrow a little as it reads like Android purchased currencies, and any other platform’s in-app currency would be different. You wouldn’t be able to purchase currency on Google Play and use on the PC and vice versa.
Got $60 worth of currency in your Epic account? You probably would not be able to use it via the Play Store release.
I mean, I’m not particularly wanting to spend money on clothing, dance moves, and weapons in Fortnite, but that’s a big part of how they’ve built the game. Buy a phone, get 15,000 Fortnite tokens or whatever they’re called, customize and play everywhere.
Fortnite you can play on your console, computer, or mobile and it’s the same account, mostly same experience. Looks like they’d have to remove the in-app currency system working on your account in Android even if they went through Google Play, alternately make Google Play only currency and every other platform currency locking your currency in different boxes.
In the end, it may come down to money, or maybe it’s keeping the experience the same. But having kids turning on the ability to install stuff from unknown sources is pretty moronic.
In order for the game to continue in the format it’s in it looks like it’ll need to be granted an exemption or two from the ToS even if they do go to Google Play and pay 30%. That or have the Android version completely drop currency.
Or maybe Epic is just big evil. I could be wrong. Maybe looking incompetent and greedy is their strategy.