Despite being a free-to-play title, Fortnite is a veritable cash cow. That's because there are in-game purchases available, and Epic Games is raking in a lot of sales from what has become the world's most popular battle royale shooter, having taken the torch from PlayerUnknown's Battlegrounds and run with it. Unfortunately for Google, it stands to miss out on potentially substantial Fortnite-related revenue when it launches on a wide swath of Android devices.
Epic Games previously confirmed that Fortnite will not be available in the Play Store, as it wants to avoid paying a 30 percent cut to Google for any purchases made.
"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."
Mobile app tracking form Sensor Tower estimates that Google stands to miss out on at least $50 million in platform fees as a result of Epic Games' decision, and that is just for the remainder of 2018. If Fortnite has legs to carry its popularity well into 2019, the amount of lost revenue could be much higher.
"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," Sensor Tower said.
Epic Games is rolling the dice on Android users being comfortable with side-loading Fortnite onto their handsets and tablets. Listing the game in the Play Store would make it easier to install and put the game in front of more eyeballs, but Epic Games obviously feels that it can do just fine without Google's help. It will be interesting to see how things turn out.