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Fortnite’s epic battle with Google and Android


Fortnite’s epic battle with Google and Android

It’s hard to believe that Fortnite started as a Zombie survival game where you were tasked with building and fortifying your base to defend against the incoming hoards of zombies. While Fortnite: Save the World is still available to play it is not nearly as popular as its companion game, which officially came out of “early access” in June this year.

Since it adopted the Battle Royale format it has become a global phenomenon. A major part of the games’ demographic is teenagers and kids using the platform to socialise with friends. Just looking at its impressive brand deals, it’s clear to see that Fortnite pulls the bigs numbers with a very desirable demographic among marketers. Case-in-point is the latest collaboration with Marvel where you can play with an unlock a number of characters from franchises including Guardians of the Galaxy, Iron Man, X-Men, and other characters.

To see just how big Fortnite’s impact is on popular culture, have a look at the Travis Scott Album launch that happened in Fortnite earlier this year. The spectacle took place in-game allowing players to listen to the music and experience impressive visuals. After the event, Epic Games said that 12.3 million concurrent players joined in on the album launch, setting new records at the time.

Here is the official video but it’s well worth checking out various streamer experiences of the event too. It was pretty impressive from all angles. For example, certain in-game items reacted to the music by pulsating or glowing at key parts in the event.

With global domination ticked off on the to-do list, a year after the games’ Windows and iOS early releases it also announced a mobile port of the game for Android and iOS. This meant that Fortnite was now playable on all the major gaming platforms and gamers could cross-play among those. This was a pretty big deal and one that attributed to its success as friends could play with each other, no matter the platform that they gamed on.

This was until August this year when Epic lost its developer account on both the Apple and Android stores. The reason why the company was booted from these stores is that it enabled in-game purchasing that bypassed the official store’s payment system. This is in breach of the developer contract you enter into when you sell apps on these stores. The agreement states that the store takes a 30% cut of all sales, and Epic did not want to abide.

While Andrdoid users can side-load the game from the Epic store, Apple users on any device will not be able to play Fortnite anymore.

Gamers who had the game installed before Apple’s ban is not able to get any of the latest updates while new gamers cannot download the game at all. The debate around the validity of either side’s claim is interesting, and one left for another time. The lawsuit is still ongoing but an actual court date will likely only be set for mid-2021. Untill then, its unlikely that we’ll see Fortnite return to these official stores.

Although I don’t play Fortnite much these days, I have to give this game credit as the title that enabled me to game when I was a corporate Apple Mac user a few years ago. Up until that point, I was a PC and console gamer.

With Fortnite, I got a taste of the Battle Royal genre that totally enticed me. Mere months into playing Fortnite I discovered another Battle Royale title, PUBG, and I instantly switched. By that time I had a gaming PC and I was looking for something different.

Now, nearly three years later I find myself venturing back to Fortnite. This time its not to build or try and rank up. Rather, I’m appreciating the port that Epic games managed to pull off for mobile. I love the in-game items and to be honest, if you can look past the construction element, this is a solid shooter.

The repercussions of Epic’s bold moves with one of the biggest gaming titles in the world is one to keep an eye on. For now, I’m appreciating my Android device’s open-source roots, indeed, Fortnite on mobile is pretty, uhm, epic. — © 2020 MBLGMR

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Creative by day, gamer by night. Regardt is the head gamer at He is a veteran tech journalist of almost 20 years in the tech and gaming space and lives on coffee and craft beer.

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