Epic Games' decision to relent and finally put Fortnite on Google Play -- almost two years since announcing that it wouldn't be doing so with a pretty blunt statement on Google's revenue share from CEO Tim Sweeney -- has been reported in most places as succumbing to the inevitable. That's not an unfair characterisation.
The decision to bypass Google's app store on the company's own Android platform always seemed enormously unlikely to succeed, both in terms of damaging Fortnite's own performance (which it must have done, otherwise this U-turn wouldn't be happening) and in terms of Google itself being largely unconcerned by the whole affair (which, again, seems to be the case). That it's taken this long for the decision to be reversed does indeed speak to stubbornness as much as anything else.
Epic's lengthy refusal to use the Google Play store, however, hasn't happened in isolation. It's emblematic of a much broader bugbear which the developer has with the business model of digital distribution generally -- specifically, the 30% cut which has become the industry standard for digital distribution platforms. On consoles and on iOS, Epic has had no option but to go along with the policies of the platform holders -- albeit under protest -- but on the two platforms where the company could do something different, namely PC and Android, it has taken a stand against this aspect of the business.
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