But in the end, it all comes down to money. If Epic were to distribute Fortnite through Google Play, it would have to forfeit 30 percent of the revenue from in-app purchases to Google. To put it simply, Epic wants complete and total command of this revenue stream and thinks that side-loading is the way to go.
“Avoiding the 30 per cent ‘store tax’ is a part of Epic's motivation." said Epic Games CEO Tim Sweeney. "It's a high cost in a world where game developers' 70 per cent must cover all the cost of developing, operating, and supporting their games. And it's disproportionate to the cost of the services these stores perform, such as payment processing, download bandwidth, and customer service."
"Epic's goal is to bring its games directly to customers. We believe gamers will benefit from competition among software sources on Android," Sweeney added. "Competition among services gives consumers lots of great choices and enables the best to succeed based on merit."
When it comes to iOS, Epic doesn't really have a choice of distribution paths because of Apple's walled garden. All paths lead to the App Store. However, Android's relatively openness means that side-loading can be done with relative ease, allowing Epic to bypass the store "tax".
Google will provide Fortnite fans with a standard APK that will be downloaded directly from the Fortnite website. Android users will of course have to adjust their permissions to allow the install to proceed, but Epic will have these instructions up on its website to guide those unfamiliar with the process. And even though it will have no ties to Google Play, Epic will still be able to continually update the game once installed.
"In the week that we've had Fortnite installed on the S9+, the game has been updated and patched - this was all done seamlessly when booting the title and no further security settings adjustments were required," writes Eurogamer.
However, by not going through Google Play, there is the potential for nefarious parties to start floating around APK that masquerade as Fortnite, but instead are loaded with malwareand ransomware. However, as long as Android users download the file directly from Epic and avoid shady alternative sites, they should be safe.