Fortnite is the biggest mobile game release since Pokemon GO, but unlike Pokemon GO, you can’t download it from the Google Play Store. Epic Games is handling the distribution itself, so searches for Fortnite in the Play Store turn up a lot of junk that isn’t the game. Well, now Google is making it extra-clear that you can’t download Fortnite with a bespoke message in mobile search results.
Just fire up the Play Store on your phone, and search for “Fortnite Mobile” or some variation on the name to get the message. The web Play Store does not have this feature, though. The Play Store will return the following text at the top of your results.
Fortnite Battle Royal by Epic Games, Inc is not available on Google Play.
Yes, Google misspelled the name of the game — it’s “Royale,” not “Royal.” Below the message, Google has helpfully listed the developer account for Epic Games. There’s only one title (Battle Breakers), and it’s not available yet. Below that, the Play Store continues with the normal search results, which includes the competing PUBG mobile battle royale game. You’ll get the customized search results even if you misspell the game’s name, so Google must be getting a ton of Fortnite searches.
Epic Games has opted to launch the game first on Samsung phones — the beta is live now for most high-end Samsung phones launched in the last two or three years. The game will appear in the Samsung Game Launcher and in the Galaxy Apps store. Epic will also offer downloads of the game on its website in the coming days for most Android smartphones.
Avoiding Google Play distribution means Epic gets to keep all of the in-app purchase revenue rather than paying 30 percent of it to Google. Most developers just deal with that because having your title in the Play Store makes it easier to reach a large audience. Epic probably thinks that having the most popular game in the world gives it enough reach to go its own way.
It’s possible Epic Games will eventually decide to add Fortnite to the Play Store. If the battle royale genre loses steam, it might have trouble getting users to its website to download the game, which requires extra steps and makes updating a pain. For the time being, Google is just trying to make sure you don’t end up downloading something that just looks like Fortnite in the Play Store.
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