Fortnite for Android is finally here, after Epic Games announced that the game will be available for owners of the Samsung Galaxy Note 9 smartphone.
A wider release will come next month but Fortnite’s developer has decided to not make the popular game available through Google Play, meaning Android users could be more exposed to online scammers seeking to make a profit with fake versions.
The limited Android launch of the game will come pre-installed on the Note 9 device, with Epic Games making the game available for download exclusively through its website when the wider release comes.
Epic Games CEO Tim Sweeney explained his company’s decision to not use Google’s official platform, claiming that the tech giant took a disproportionate cut of the sales through its store.
“Epic’s goal is to bring its games directly to customers ,” Mr Sweeney told Eurogamer. “We believe gamers will benefit from competition among software sources on Android. Competition among services gives consumers lots of great choices and enables the best to succeed based on merit.”
The 30 per cent share that Google takes is exactly the same as the cut Apple takes through its official App Store, which Epic Games uses to distribute Fortnite for iPhones and iPads. Unlike Google, however, Apple has much tighter controls over which apps and software can be downloaded to iOS devices.
One of the reasons for these restrictions is to prevent iPhone and iPad users from downloading malicious apps that could pose a cyber risk.
The popularity of Fortnite means hackers have targeted players of the game with scams, aiming to infect their computers, consoles and portable electronics with malware.
Last month, researchers at game-streaming platform Rainway uncovered a computer virus spread via links embedded in the description of YouTube videos offering Fortnite players free units of the in-game currency V-Bucks. At the time the virus was reported to YouTube and Epic Games, more than 78,000 people had been affected.
Separate research suggests scammers were earning almost $1 million annually from Fortnite players. Imperva researchers uncovered an online campaign that made $93,000 in one month though online advertising revenues generated by players clicking on ads in the hope of earning free V-Bucks.
“When something seems too good to be true, it probably is,” a blogpost accompanying the research stated. “The perpetrators are abusing the fact that online players of Battle Royale games may be very eager to get free in-game currency and items, and are willing to go to pretty risky lengths to get hold of them.”
Epic Games’ decision to not make Fortnite available through Google Play will likely see cyber criminals continue to lure players to fake versions of the game.
Fortnite players are advised to take care when downloading mobile versions of the game.