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Fortnite reluctantly comes to Google Play store

Epic Games has released Fortnite on Google's Play app store after a long-running dispute with the tech giant.

The title had previously only been available to Android users outside of the marketplace. It means Google will get a cut of in-game purchases.

Google introduced opt-in security measures which block apps distributed via other means in March.

Epic said the move pushed it to release the game on Google's platform. Experts suggest the move will benefit players.

Fortnite is one of the world's most popular video games, attracting millions of players and viewers.

As a "free-to-play game", its creators make money by selling dance moves, "skins" to change the look of the player's character, and access to pre-release game modes.

Apple and Google both take a 30% cut of transactions made within apps distributed via their online stores - a fee that Epic chief executive Tim Sweeney had previously described as "disproportionate".

In the case of Apple's mobile iOS platform, Epic had no option but to agree, as there is no other easy way to let users install software.

But it had held out against Google until now.

"Google puts software downloadable outside of Google Play at a disadvantage through technical and business measures such as scary, repetitive security pop-ups for downloaded and updated software, restrictive manufacturer and carrier agreements and dealings," said Epic Games.

"New efforts such as Google Play Protect outright block software obtained outside the Google Play store. Because of this, we've launched Fortnite for Android on the Google Play Store."

One expert said Epic should still benefit in the long run, despite its frustrations.

"Epic has bitten the bullet and released Fortnite on Google Play because there remains a partially untapped audience on Android, especially in markets where smartphone adoption is still increasing," said Piers Harding-Rolls, games research director at Ampere Analysis.

"Also, the user experience of downloading and updating the game will improve through Google's first-party services."

He added that the game had already been downloaded over 50,000 times on the Play Store since its release on Tuesday.

Epic announced last week that it had delayed the release of its third season of Fortnite until June.

It has not explained why, but there has been speculation it could be caused by delays caused by the firm's staff having to work from home due to the coronavirus pandemic.

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