If you have been following Android news at all, you no doubt have heard by now, that Epic Games has decided to skip the Play Store in publishing the Android port of their massively well-known game, Fortnite. Rather, Epic will make an installer for the free-to-play game out there on its web page when it is released, possibly very soon. The decision is bold, offered the stranglehold the Play Retailer has on Android software program distribution - and Fortnite's reputation implies it has some worrisome implications for Google.
Epic CEO Tim Sweeney, inside a Q+A with Eurogamer, said that avoiding Google's 30% distribution fee can be a major portion of his company's motivation. In his words, the fee is "disproportionate for the expense of solutions these shops perform, which include payment processing, download bandwidth, and customer service."
The reason is that it is to avoid 30% tax but that is anything Epic acknowledges and that is what is causing the increase in competitors. Google is competing against a significant developer with their very own marketplaces and Epic have decided the 30%
That sounds an awful lot like a rallying cry for other mobile developers to skip the Play store and keep Google's reduced for themselves. It's not quite that simple, because the Play retailer provides incomparable exposure for an even fairly large game and software publishers. Fortnite's immense reputation - last month the game passed $1 billion in revenue from other platforms - puts it within a class by itself, and those who choose to discover the game absolutely will. But even customers already particularly searching for it are probably to head for the Play retailer first, and it's going to inarguably be less visible to potential new converts. The move could also make tension amongst the publisher and Google, even though Sweeney does not seem worried about this - he says his corporation "looks forward to continued collaboration with Google".
In the same time, Epic's selection to direct its audience away from the Play retailer could radically shift the way quite a few users consider Android. Android, unlike Apple's iOS, makes it possible for users to install third-party apps straight, a process usually generally known as "sideloading." It is not terribly complicated, and Epic's proprietary installer will most likely make the method added smooth.
Epic also isn't the first huge player to try and leverage the procedure to undercut Google's grip on Android app distribution - Amazon, most notably, asks users to side-load its personal Amazon Appstore. And there are plenty of tech-savvy users that are satisfied to take a few additional steps to set up homebrewed, pre-release, or outright illicit apps. But Fortnite is especially well known amongst users in their teens and 20s, and for many of them, installing apps straight to a telephone (or for that matter, to a Computer) is most likely an alien idea. Epic's choice to bypass the Play retailer will open their eyes to the possibilities, in turn generating it additional appealing for publishers to stray.
This could really be healthful for Android's brand awareness, as it's a demonstration of the system's openness and flexibility. On iOS, side-loading apps outdoors of Apple's app shop is successfully not even a selection, and with increasing anxiety about digital monopolies, now could be the moment for Google to leverage that core distinction.
But there's an explanation Google constructed the Play store within the first location: It is a large money-maker, and it is only having bigger. Income from the Play store and Apple's App Retailer jumped 35% between 2016 and 2017, with all the Play store creating an estimated $20.1 billion in sales final year. If customers get applied to the thought of installing apps directly from publishers, development in that income stream could slow and even reverse.
You'll find also risks for would-be Fortnite players. As Eurogamer points out, requiring customers to download and install the game in the web vastly increases the likelihood that they'll download a fake version loaded with malware. In actual fact, there have been already examples of fake Fortnite downloads months ahead of the true Android version was near release. Sweeney says that “open platforms are an expression of freedom,” but also that “with that freedom comes responsibility” for users to be careful to only set up software program from trusted sources.
Recent months have offered lots of examples of your dangers of highly centralized and semi-curated digital ecosystems, from Amazon to Facebook. That suggests Epic's unorthodox move and emphasis on user duty might be healthier all around, particularly because the Play retailer itself has been a fairly frequent vector for malware. But for Google, it introduces a significant dose of uncertainty.