By Praveen Kannan and Anna Strokolyst The Hotspot Shield team believes the internet should be open and secure …
As an internet security company, we at Hotspot Shield consistently advise our users to take every measure to protect their online security. One of those measures is to only download apps from your device’s designated app store. If you’re a Fortnite Android gamer, however, that won’t be possible. Epic Games is removing its wildly popular game from the Google Play store altogether.
Fortnite’s divorce from Google
Let’s be clear why this is happening: money. Epic Games pays Google 30% on all sales (basically, every single in-app purchase). When you made nearly $300 million in April alone, those percentages add up. And while those gross revenue figures span across all channels — mobile, console, and PC — the 30% it pays to Apple for the App Store and Google for the Play Store will be a sizable dent in its bottom line.
In fact, Epic Games’ CEO Tim Sweeney said recently that the cost of the services these stores provide — “such as payment processing, download bandwidth, and customer service” — is disproportionate to the costs they charge.
In other words, it’s way too expensive to distribute via stores like Google Play, and unlike other games that need the app stores to generate customers, Fortnite is so large that people will be willing to download the app wherever they’re told.
And therein lies the problem.
While malware can sneak into the app stores (we talked about the fake Fornite app that was actually malware), it’s considerably safer as a consumer to download an app from a legit store than it is off a random website. So Fortnite ditching Google Play opens the door to any number of malicious attacks.
Why is Fortnite ditching Google but not Apple?
Apple, too, takes a 30% bite out of in-app purchases whenever a user downloads Fortnite from the App Store. So why is it only scrapping Google?
Unlike Google, iOS users can’t download apps from anywhere other than its own store. This allows Apple to first approve any app that it distributes, and mostly, it means they get to make a boatload of cash.
Google is not as locked down as Apple, meaning developers can distribute their Android apps via other means. But as mentioned, apps for direct download will therefore not have gone through Google’s internal review process, so you better trust the company you’re downloading from.
What does this mean for Fortnite Android users?
According to Sweeney: “Epic wants to have a direct relationship with our customers on all platforms where that’s possible. The great thing about the internet and digital revolution is that this is possible, now that physical storefronts and middlemen distributors are no longer required.”
The long and the short of it for Fortnite Android users is that you’ll simply be downloading Fortnite from Epic directly rather than from the Google Play store. And you can bet that Epic will make the process relatively seamless.
One thing users need to be aware of is the potential for fake apps or other ways to inject harmful malware on your Android device. It happens all the time, from fake invites that supposedly gave users a heads up about when the Fortnite Android release would arrive (these were actually fraudsters seeking to con unsuspecting people) and the aforementioned fake Fortnite app that was actually a virus. PUBG gamers even suffered a ransomware attack recently.
To protect yourself, be sure the URL you’re using is real and that you’ve typed it in correctly. Spend a few extra moments to make sure you know exactly what you’re downloading and who you’re downloading it from. Don’t download the app via a random link in a forum, for instance. And use Hotspot Shield’s “Malware Protection” feature to scan your apps for any harmful viruses. You can delete infected files and apps right from within the free Hotspot Shield app.
If you’re looking for more Fortnite content, like how to unblock Fortnite at school, become a regular visitor of our Hotspot Shield blog. Hotspot Shield helps gamers around the world enjoy the best experience possible, providing unrestricted access to content and lower lag times. Get unblocked games at school for free with a VPN.