Epic Games has been fighting app store revenue splits across both desktop and mobile. It has been buying exclusives left and right for its Epic Games Store on PC, which shares more revenue with developers than Steam, and on mobile, the company has called Google's 30% cut on Play Store in-app purchases "illegal." However, it seems the company has finally relented, as Fortnite has finally arrived on the Play Store.
In a statement to Polygon, Epic Games said that "technical and business measures" puts any apps and games distributed outside the Play Store at a disadvantage:
After 18 months of operating Fortnite on Android outside of the Google Play Store, we’ve come to a basic realization:
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, Google public relations characterizing third party software sources as malware, and new efforts such as Google Play Protect to outright block software obtained outside the Google Play store.
Because of this, we’ve launched Fortnite for Android on the Google Play Store. We’ll continue to operate the Epic Games App and Fortnite outside of Google Play, too.
We hope that Google will revise its policies and business dealings in the near future, so that all developers are free to reach and engage in commerce with customers on Android and in the Play Store through open services, including payment services, that can compete on a level playing field.
It's worth noting that Android as a platform has not placed any additional restrictions on installing applications from APKs for several years, and remains immensely more open than iOS, which doesn't allow external apps at all. Epic's complaint about Play Protect blocking outside software only applies to people who have enabled Google's Advanced Protection, which is opt-in and is only intended for use with high-risk Google accounts.
Regardless of the behind-the-scenes squabbles, Fortnite is now available from the Play Store, so no more sideloading APKs is required. If you want to support Epic Games in its time of need with 100% of your Fortnite skin purchases, the game will continue to be available from the existing launcher.