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Fortnite maker confirms plans to sidestep the Play Store for Android launch

Tim Maytom

Epic Games, the studio behind the megahit Fortnite, has confirmed that the title will not be available via Google's Play Store when it finally comes to the Android operating system. By distributing the game exclusively through its own website, the studio will avoid the 30 per cent fee that goes to Google each time a user makes an in-app purchase.

Fortnite launched on iOS in March, and since then has racked up massive revenues through in-app purchases, bringing in $25m (£19m) in its first month of availability, passing $50m on day 45 and earning over $100m during its first 90 days.

While a release date for an Android version of the game is yet to be confirmed, Epic Games has said that it will become available "this summer". In order to access the app, users on Android will have to visit the game's website and download a launcher program, which will then allow them to load the game onto their smartphone.

Fortnite is free-to-play, but users can purchase cosmetic items in-app using a virtual currency called 'V-Bucks'. By avoiding the Play Store, Epic Games will be able to retain 100 per cent of in-app spending on Android. The studio is estimated to have already made $1bn through in-game purchases in Fortnite.

"On open platforms like PC, Mac and Android, Epic's goal is to bring its games directly to customers," said Tim Sweeney, CEO of Epic Games in an email to TechCrunch. "We believe gamers will benefit from competition among software sources on Adnroid. Competition among services gives consumers lots of great choices and enables the best to succeed based on merit."

There are also rumours that Fortnite may also be exclusive to Samsung devices when it first launches on Android. The date of the Android release is expected to be announced on 9 August, the same date as Samsung's Unpacked event in New York City.

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