The Android version of Fortnite has garnered quite a bit of attention over the past couple of weeks. First, it was discovered that the game might initially be exclusive to the Samsung Galaxy Note9 when it launches, and towards the end of last week, Epic Games confirmed it would be bypassing the Google Play Store to avoid giving 30% of its revenue to the middleman.
Now, a leaked APK file indicates that there might be even more to the story, as discovered by XDA-developers. First off, it looks as though Epic Games will distribute the title through Samsung's Galaxy Apps store, making it easier for Samsung users to get the game from a trusted source. This would send one of Epic Games' reasons for avoiding the Google Play Store down the drain, as it claimed to want to maintain a direct relationship with its customers.
However, it could make sense from a financial standpoint, which is likely the true reason for that decision. Samsung's terms and conditions for the Galaxy Apps store are a bit more generous than Google's. While the standard revenue cut is also 70% for developers and 30% for Samsung, Galaxy Apps Partners can get a better 80/20 cut. Perhaps more interestingly, a different revenue share can be obtained through a mutual written agreement. Fortnite's exclusivity to Samsung devices could be worth a lot of money for the Korean company, which would give Epic some leverage in getting a bigger cut of the revenue.
But that's not all that's revealed by the data in the APK file, which also indicates that it may not be exclusive just to the Galaxy Note9 when it launches. The file contains a series of checks to stop unauthorized devices from running the game and it looks like the newly-announced Galaxy Tab S4 will also be able to run the game when it launches.
The game will go as far as checking whether the device is compatible with Samsung's S Pen, though it's unknown if that's merely a method to block out non-Samsung devices or if the title will actually make use of its features.
Despite Fortnite's tremendous success, it's hard to predict whether or not this partnership will grant Samsung a great advantage in the smartphone market. It could also end up hurting Epic Games, as bypassing the Play Store could lessen discoverability and security, though that also remains to be seen.