Fortnite on Android: All the info on its unconventional release (Updated: August 9)
Fortnite is a global sensation. In just one year, it’s amassed 125 million players including celebrities like Drake, Joe Jonas, Finn Wolfhard, and even Roseanne Barr. There are already international tournaments happening.
Although Fortnite has been out for some time now on PC, Mac, PlayStation 4, Xbox One, Nintendo Switch, and iOS, it is only starting to trickle out to Android right now. And while the release of Fortnite for all the other platforms has been pretty run-of-the-mill, the Android release is going to be anything but.
We know that Epic Games — the publisher of Fortnite — is adopting an incredibly unconventional strategy for Fortnite on Android, which is likely leading to confusion and misinformation. We thought it would be helpful to bring all the factual information (and credible rumors) we have seen so far into one article.
Hopefully, this will answer any questions you might have!
How to play the beta for Fortnite on Android
On August 9, Samsung launched the Samsung Galaxy Note 9. As part of that launch, Samsung and Epic Games announced an exclusive: certain Samsung devices can play the beta version of Fortnite for Android. After a few days, the exclusive will end and Fortnite will be available to all compatible Android devices.
As of August 9, the only devices that can play Fortnite for Android beta are:
- Samsung Galaxy Note 9
- Samsung Galaxy Note 8
- Samsung Galaxy S9/S9 Plus
- Samsung Galaxy S8/S8 Plus
- Samsung Galaxy S7/S7 Edge
- Samsung Galaxy Tab S3
- Samsung Galaxy Tab S4
The beta of the game is available via the Samsung Galaxy Apps Store.
Fortnite release date for Android
Epic Games is going to release a beta version of Fortnite for Android after Samsung’s exclusive ends on August 13. However, only certain Android devices will have access to the beta and you’ll have to request access to the software via an Epic Games online form.
Fortnite for Android supported devices
If you don’t own a recent Samsung flagship, will you even be able to play Fortnite? That’s a good question, and luckily we have some clear answers.
According to official word from Epic Games, these are the devices that will absolutely run Fortnite for Android beta:
- Asus ZenFone 4 Pro
- Asus ZenFone 5Z
- Asus ZenFone V
- Asus ROG Phone
- Google Pixel
- Google Pixel XL
- Google Pixel 2/Pixel 2 XL
- OnePlus 5
- OnePlus 5T
- OnePlus 6
- Essential Phone
- Huawei Mate 10/Huawei Mate 10 Pro
- Huawei P20/P20 Pro
- Huawei Mate RS
- Huawei Nova 3
- Huawei Honor V10 (View 10)
- Huawei Honor 10
- Huawei Honor Play
- LG G5
- LG G6
- LG G7 ThinQ
- LG V20
- LG V30/V30 Plus
- Nokia 8
- Razer Phone
If you don’t see your phone on the list, don’t freak out: these are not the only phones that can play the game. These are merely the devices that will be able to play the beta when it first launches.
After the first beta wave, these devices will get compatibility:
- HTC 10
- HTC U Ultra
- HTC U11
- HTC U11 Plus
- HTC U12 Plus
- Motorola Moto Z
- Motorola Moto Z Droid
- Motorola Z2 Force
- Sony Xperia XZ
- Sony Xperia XZs
- Sony Xperia XZ1
- Sony Xperia XZ2
It seems like most modern devices will handle the game; however, the release of Fortnite for Android is extremely unconventional so it is very well possible that the lists above are definitive, at least for now.
Don’t see your device on either list?
Over at XDA Developers, a team of hackers with rooted Android devices were able to get Fortnite for Android working on three smartphones: the Samsung Galaxy S9 Plus, the Google Pixel 2 XL, and the Essential Phone. The first two devices are on the official lists above, but the third one is not.
You can read our summary of what happened with the XDA teams efforts here.
Where is the Fortnite for Android Play Store listing?
You can search all you like for the Fortnite for Android listing on the Google Play Store — you won’t find it. The reason for that is because, unbelievably, Epic Games will not release Fortnite for Android on the Play Store.
Instead, you’ll install Fortnite for Android via the Samsung Galaxy Apps Store during Samsung’s exclusive period and then via a new Epic Games launcher that you will have to install on your Android device direct from Epic.
This is similar to how one installs Fortnite on a PC: you download an installer from Epic Games and then launch the game via the installer.
But downloading and installing software from the internet is a normal occurrence on Windows and Mac computers, so gamers are used to that. For most gamers though, installing an Android game means going to the Google Play Store; most don’t know of any other way.
Epic Games will list instructions for how to download and install the Fortnite for Android launcher by using a security toggle in Android settings that allows users to install apps from outside the Play Store.
While this setting has been a feature of Android for years, most users likely don’t know it even exists. What Epic Games will do is train users on how to install apps from third parties, which could open the floodgates for users to unknowingly download and install malware from all over the internet. It is a controversial move, for absolute sure.
Why won’t Fortnite for Android be on the Google Play Store?
The CEO of Epic Games told Variety that the primary motivation for the unconventional release strategy of Fortnite for Android is to maintain “a direct relationship with our customers on all platforms where that’s possible.”
We also interviewed the CEO and asked him similar questions, which you can read here.
However, there is a secondary motivation that is much more likely to be the real reason you won’t get Fortnite for Android from the Play Store: Google’s 30 percent cut of all profits from products on the Play Store. Here is what CEO Tim Sweeney had to say on that point:
We’re motivated by economic efficiency. The 30 percent store tax is a high cost in a world where game developers’ 70 percent must cover all the costs of developing, operating, and supporting their games. There’s a rationale for this on console where there’s enormous investment in hardware, often sold below cost, and marketing campaigns in broad partnership with publishers. But on open platforms, 30 percent is disproportionate to the cost of the services these stores perform, such as payment processing, download bandwidth, and customer service. We’re intimately familiar with these costs from our experience operating Fortnite as a direct-to-customer service on PC and Mac.
Will Fortnite for Android come to the Play Store in the future?
According to Epic Games’ CEO Tim Sweeney, the publisher communicated with Google prior to announcing its plans to release Fortnite for Android outside of the Google Play Store. He was not clear on what Google thought of the plan but says that Google was aware before the announcement.
Sweeney said that he hopes to work with Google to make sure that players stay safe when downloading content that’s not from the Play Store. “Google built Android as an open platform, and we’re eager to work closely with them to further Android as a platform that brings console-quality games to smartphones,” he said.
Google has yet to comment on the Fortnite release strategy.
How much will Fortnite for Android cost to download?
As with Fortnite on other platforms, downloading Fortnite for Android will be totally free. After downloading and installing, you can play the game as much as you like without having to pay anything.
There will be optional in-app purchases though which players can buy to customize and upgrade their gaming experience. This is how Epic makes its money off Fortnite (rumored to be $300 million per month).
Will Fortnite for Android only pit players against other Android users?
Epic Games says that all versions of Fortnite will feature cross-play and cross-progression capabilities. This means that all players on any system — including Android — can fight together.
However, as with the iOS version of Fortnite, players will have the ability to opt-out of full cross-play and only fight against other mobile users to ensure a more even playing field. This is because a player armed with a keyboard and mouse (or PS4 controller) will likely mop the floor with players on mobile device touchscreens.
Will controllers and keyboards work with Fortnite for Android?
No, at least not at first. Epic says that it intends to prevent Android gamers from using any peripherals to keep things fair amongst other Android users. Eventually, this could change and players could hook up controllers, keyboards, and mice to Android devices. But at first, it will be all-touchscreen all the time.
How many people will be playing Fortnite for Android when it gets released?
With Samsung having an exclusive to the game, for the time being, there likely won’t be too many players at first, at least on Android. But once the exclusives go away, Epic anticipates there will be about 250 million Android players.
This is double the amount of players the game has currently, which is 125 million.
That might seem like a huge jump, but it’s actually not that much when you remember there are over 2 billion Android devices in the world. However, only a fraction of those users care about Fortnite and only a fraction of those users will own a device capable of playing the game.
Therefore, it’s a safe assumption to make that you will be playing against hundreds of millions of people when Fortnite for Android finally lands for the whole world.
Will Fortnite come to VR or AR, either on Android or something else?
Epic says that it currently has no plans to bring Fortnite to VR or AR platforms, but that it is “thinking a lot about AR and VR possibilities.”
Is the “Save the World” functionality coming to Android?
As of now, Epic Games says it has no plans to bring the Save the World functionality of Fortnite to either Android or iOS. Save the World is expected to remain a PC/console perk and not a mobile feature.