Epic Games’ decision to circumvent the Google Play Store with its upcoming release of Fortnite for Android is still polarizing the gaming industry as not even individual app insight companies appear to be able to reach an internal consensus on the matter. One such firm is Apptopia whose founder and COO Jonathan Kay and communications lead Adam Blacker already had a lot of back-and-forth over the surprising development, as the former recently revealed in a Medium article.
“The move feels more like a PR stunt than an actual well thought out [sic] business decision,” argues Mr. Kay, pointing to Fortnite’s success on Apple’s proprietary iOS App Store as reason enough for Epic not to embrace risky distribution methods seeing how the company already has a winning formula on its hands, both in terms of player numbers and pure revenues. Apptopia’s COO is describing Epic’s move as arrogant and believes it could easily backfire, especially as Google is likely to start promoting Fortnite’s main rival PUBG in an effort to keep as many users within its mobile app ecosystem as possible. Some recent estimates suggest Google may be missing out on as much as $50 million in annual revenue from the lack of Fortnite on the Play Store, and that’s only assuming the game isn’t a global success on Android as it already is on other platforms, i.e. PC, iOS, and current-generation consoles.
Mr. Blacker also raised the possibility of Fortnite eventually debuting on the Play Store, but not before Epic’s hit battle royale game runs past its peak popularity without the studio having to pay Google a 30-percent cut of all of its microtransaction-generated turnover. Even if the mobile game is profitable within a couple of months and stays away from the Play Store for around a year, such a scenario could still be considered a success, the industry veteran said. Mr. Blacker also isn’t convinced by the PUBG argument, pointing to the fact that Fortnite’s rival has already been available on Android for months, which provided it with ample time to generate a market lead even without Google’s help. Epic is presently running a Fortnite beta on select Samsung Galaxy devices and will only be bringing the Android version of its popular game to other smartphones and tablets once the title is ready to hit the stable channel this fall.
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