Thursday, December 12, 2019

Watch out PUBG, Call of Duty as Fortnite might come to Android phones

Epic Games launched its popular battle royale game on Android last year but it was supposed to be installed via developers website instead of Google Play Store. The entire exercise happened because the developer did not want to pay 30% cut for purchases made on the game by players for virtual items and emotes to Google. According to a recent report by 9to5Google, Epic Games can submit the game again to Google Play Store.The submission is supposed to be made with Epic's payment system instead of taking Google Play Store payment platform that is usually used by other apps and games for in-app purchases. Fortnite's payment system allows players to buy V-Bucks, the virtual game currency that let players purchase in-game outfits, pickaxes, emotes, wraps and more using their credit or debit cards that currently gives Epic Games 100% amount of the transactions made through the system. According to Google's app store policy, it is mandatory to use Google's payment system for all the apps that are submitted to the store for in-app purchases and the tech giant asks for around 30% cut from the payments made through the system. However, looking at Epic's second approach for listing the game on Google Play Store with their own payment infrastructure, they are expecting to make this game an exception against Google's policy. Google recently confirmed to 9to5Google that they would not make Fortnite as an exception for app store as they want to make it a common practice for all developers to enrol into the Google Play Store under the same terms and conditions. "Android enables multiple app stores and choices for developers to distribute apps. Google Play has a business model and billing policy that allow us to invest in our platform and tools to help developers build successful businesses while keeping users safe. We welcome any developer that recognizes the value of Google Play and expect them to participate under the same terms as other developers." Google told 9to5Google.

Wednesday, December 11, 2019

Fortnite on Google Play: Is a 30% cut worth the security benefits?

After Fortnite launched on the Android mobile operating system, users were made aware that the installation process was somewhat unusual.

Rather than visiting the Google Play Store and downloading the software directly, Epic Games employed a different installation technique known as sideloading, which requires the app to be downloaded from another source; in this case, Epic Games' website. 

Adding additional purchase or installation barriers to consumers in a market where easily-accessible and streamlined processes have become a priority is generally frowned upon and is not considered best business practice. In this case, however, the Fortnite developer wanted to avoid Google's requirements when it comes to in-app billing. 

As of this year, Epic Games says there are roughly 250 million active Fortnite players, and when you combine this with the app's virtual currency V-Bucks -- used to purchase everything from outfits to weapons in-game -- you can see the potential profit margins. 

Market tracker Edison Trends estimates that Fornite in-app revenues dropped by 52 percent between Q2 2018 and Q2 2019, but the game is still a cash cow that outstrips everything else on the market with billions of dollars already banked. 

Currently, developers must adhere to terms of service which include the implementation of Google Play In-app Billing to make in-app purchases, rather than their own payment methods. So when you consider a commission rate of roughly 30 percent levied on in-app purchases made by apps hosted on Google Play, you can see why the developer may wish to protect this revenue stream. 

A 9to5 Google report emerged over the past week which suggested Epic Games had submitted Fortnite to Google Play in the hopes of a special exception to the 30 percent rule. 

Google said no. 

See also: Fortnite is being used by criminals to launder cash through V-Bucks

In a statement, the tech giant told the publication:

"Android enables multiple app stores and choices for developers to distribute apps. Google Play has a business model and billing policy that allow us to invest in our platform and tools to help developers build successful businesses while keeping users safe. We welcome any developer that recognizes the value of Google Play and expect them to participate under the same terms as other developers."

This is no surprise in itself as if Google made one exception -- especially to a massively popular app -- more developers would come knocking at the door asking for special treatment. 

Epic Games CEO Tim Sweeney has previously described Google and Apple's 'tax' as "a high cost in a world where game developers' 70 percent must cover all the cost of developing, operating, and supporting their games."

Sweeney also cited "economic efficiency" as a reason for maintaining sideloading rather than pay the commission, but the decision has been met with criticism by the security community. 

CNET: IoT devices need built-in security standards, UL says

Google Play is not an untouchable gold standard in security as, on occasion, malicious apps do circumvent existing security controls and become hosted in the official Android app repository. 

However, it is generally considered wise to download apps from sources such as Google Play and the Apple App Store as these companies are constantly improving their security measures and there is less of a chance that the software you are downloading is malicious as external researchers, too, are monitoring the stores. 

Downloading an app from a third-party website requires high levels of trust in these sources as they are not checked for malware, and they also require users to enable the "allow unknown apps to be installed" setting to be enabled on handsets. 

It is this avenue that can be exploited by attackers to perform phishing, Man-in-The-Middle (MiTM) attacks and to download malicious payloads on to devices.

TechRepublic: Analysts worry about tech security threats ahead of 2020 elections

Shortly after the launch of the Android version of Fortnite, Google disclosed a vulnerability in the Fortnite installer APK which could be exploited to allow attackers to hijack the app through a Man-in-The-Disk (MiTD) attack, leading to the substitution of packages for malicious code, high privileges and permission levels to be granted, and device hijacking.

At the time, Sweeney branded the disclosure, made a week after a patch had been developed, as a way to "score cheap PR points."

Check Point, too, found a bug in Fortnite's infrastructure which gave attackers access to user accounts with very little effort. Over nine million Fortnite accounts were reportedly hacked last year. 

It does not, and should not, just come down to money. We've seen in the past that it can take no more than one overlooked security issue to bring a company's reputation crashing down, landing them a hefty bill to repair the damage and for compensation, and while a 30 percent rate may be high, users do benefit from an improved app security posture. 

As Fortnite does handle payment data, the need to maintain adequate security is even more important considering its massive customer base. 

The company has launched schemes to try and boost app security, including rewards for users that enable two-factor authentication (2FA). However, given that the app does tend to have a younger audience that may be more susceptible to phishing, downloading installers from untrusted sources, and giving away the keys to their accounts unwittingly, choosing to stay with sideloading could end up costing the company -- and its customers -- far more in the long run than Google's commission. 

Previous and related coverage

Have a tip? Get in touch securely via WhatsApp | Signal at +447713 025 499, or over at Keybase: charlie0

Google: Fortnite Won't Get Exemption From Play Store's 30% Cut

Currently, Android users can download Fortnite exclusively via Epic Games app. The developers were reportedly planning to submit Fortnite to Google Play Store in hopes of getting an exemption from Google's 30% fee for in-game transactions. Epic generates its revenue via 'V-Bucks,' which is an in-game currency that allows players to purchase cosmetics and its seasonal battle pass. As the game is free to play, Epic's revenue stream is based on in-game purchases.

 

However, Epic cannot use its own payment method as it would violate Google's policy, where developers who offer in-game purchases must use Google Play In-app Billing as the payment method. Google Play also takes a 30% cut on purchases as operating fees, similar to the App Store. This could be a problem for Epic as in-app purchases are its major revenue stream for Fortnite.

Epic has clarified its stance about exemption from 30% cut in an official statement to The Verge saying, "Epic doesn't seek a special exception for ourselves; rather we expect to see a general change to smartphone industry practices in this regard." The statement further reads, "We have asked that Google not enforce its publicly stated expectation that products distributed through Google Play use Google's payment service for in-app purchase. We believe this form of tying of a mandatory payment service with a 30% fee is illegal in the case of a distribution platform with over 50% market share."

Google has also issued an official statement that reads, "Android enables multiple app stores and choices for developers to distribute apps. Google Play has a business model and billing policy that allow us to invest in our platform and tools to help developers build successful businesses while keeping users safe." It further adds, "We welcome any developer that recognizes the value of Google Play and expect them to participate under the same terms as other developers."

Epic's claims are pretty strange considering it gives 30% of all transactions to Apple as there is no other way to distribute apps on iOS devices.

Tuesday, December 10, 2019

Fortnite's Play Store listing gets rejected, Epic Games CEO calls Google's 30% cut illegal

Epic Games had submitted its massively popular game Fortnite for listing on the Google Play Store and had hoped to get an exemption from the 30% cut of the platform. However, Google rejected the listing which has led Epic Games CEO Tim Sweeney to call Play Store's revenue sharing model illegal.

Despite its popularity, Fortnite is not available for download from the Google Play Store. Instead, one needs to head over to Epic Games' website to sideload the game on their Android device.

Since the game is not listed on the Google Play Store, Epic Games does not have to share any of the revenue generated from the sale of V-Bucks in Fortnite with Google. If listed, Epic Games would have had to give Google a 30% cut of the total revenue generated via IAPs.

Now though, Epic Games had submitted Fortnite for listing on the Play Store in hopes that Google will create an exception and change its revenue sharing model.

Google has already rejected the listing and issued a statement about it as well. The company has made it clear that it will not provide Epic Games and Fortnite with any special exception as the cut it takes from the revenue generated by apps and games is used to develop the platform and tools which further helps developers. It also notes that Epic Games lists Fortnite on the iOS App Store despite Apple also charging a standard 30% cut from the total revenue generated.

On this, Epic's CEO Tim Sweeney has called out the mandatory use of Google payment's service for IAPs in Android apps and games illegal, especially for a platform with over 50% of the market share and one that takes a 30% cut for it.

Epic doesn't seek a special exception for ourselves; rather we expect to see a general change to smartphone industry practices in this regard.

We have asked that Google not enforce its publicly stated expectation that products distributed through Google Play use Google's payment service for in-app purchase. We believe this form of tying of a mandatory payment service with a 30% fee is illegal in the case of a distribution platform with over 50% market share.

The CEO also highlights how Epic Games itself runs a PC game store and how it does not force developers to use their payment ecosystem. Instead, developers are free to use any payment processing platform of their choice.

Source: 9to5Google

Saturday, December 7, 2019

Save £19 on the Limited Edition Fortnite Xbox One controller before it sells out

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Happy Cyber Monday eve! If you thought the Cyber Monday game deals wouldn't be arriving already, you'd be wrong. The limited edition Fortnite Purple Xbox One Wireless controller is down to £45.99 at Argos, a saving of £19. When we say limited – we mean limited. Argos has already given a stock warning and it could sell out at any moment. This probably won't be around come Cyber Monday.

Ordinarily, £45.99 for a limited edition Wireless Controller would be a great deal on its own. But that's not all you're getting. If you're a Fortnite fanatic or want to try out the game for the first time, you'll be pleased to hear that you get 500 V-Bucks as part of the package, plus a Legendary Dark Vertex skin. That means you can head to the Fortnite shop and grab some flashy emotes. You can also only get that skin by buying either this bundle or a Fortnite Xbox One S bundle, so it's becoming an increasingly rare cosmetic to have in your locker.

While some limited edition designs are too in-your-face, Fortnite's is refreshingly restrained. The purple finish is clean, sleek, and well worth the limited edition tag. Just check out the minimalist colour next to the face buttons. Is it wrong to call a controller sexy? Probably. It's still a lovely piece of kit.

If you're looking for even more controllers, accessories, games, and even bundles, be sure to check out our Xbox One X Cyber Monday hub for more of the latest and greatest savings currently on the web.

Wednesday, December 4, 2019

Fortnite Cyber Monday deals - Get more bang for your V-Bucks with great offer

Fortnite Black Friday

Fortnite Black Friday deals - Get more bang for your V-Bucks with great offer (Image: EPIC GAMES)

Fortnite players can make a tidy saving when purchasing new V-Bucks thanks to an offer running this Black Friday.

Fortnite fans looking to top up their V-Bucks so they can purchase more skins or other cosmetics have been given a boost.

Online retailer CDKeys is offering big savings on Fortnite V Bucks for PlayStation 4 gamers.

You can get 2,000 V-Bucks for Fortnite on the PS4 for £9.99 - a 44 per cent saving on its typical price of £17.99.

CLICK HERE TO GET THE DEAL

That deal is for Fortnite customers in the EU, if you're a Fortnite fan in the US then click here to purchase V Bucks on the PS4.

Alternatively, you can pick up the Neo Versa pack from CDKeys for a great price.

This includes the Neo Versa outfit, Neo Phrenzy back bling and 2,000 V Bucks for just £9.99, which marks a whopping 83 per cent saving.

If you're a Fortnite fan in the EU then click here to take advantage of the deal, while clicking here will direct you to the page for US gamers.

Elsewhere the Fortnite Mobile app is offering a bonus for those that purchase V Bucks.

If you purchase 2,800 V Bucks for £23.99 then you will get a 12 per cent currency bonus as well.

If you purchase 5,000 V-Bucks for £38.99 then you will get 25 per cent extra and 13,500 V-Bucks for £99.99 will net you 35 per cent extra.

Fortnite V-Bucks are used to purchase in-game cosmetics as well as for buying a Battle Pass for a new season.

But those thinking of purchasing V-Bucks ahead of Fortnite chapter 2 season 2 starting need to be aware of one thing.

It had been expected that Fortnite chapter 2 season 2 would be kicking off in December.

Fortnite Black Friday

Fortnite Black Friday deals - Get more bang for your V-Bucks with great offer (Image: EPIC GAMES)

But it was recently revealed that the next season of Fortnite will actually be beginning in February.

Explaining the extension Epic Games said: "With a new year comes new beginnings!

"Last year we celebrated 14 Days of Fortnite over the holidays.

"This year we've got even more content for you to unwrap, including new game features, free rewards and a live experience that you won't want to miss.

"To prepare for all the new holiday-themed updates, we will be extending Chapter 2's first season into early February.

"Get ready for winter!"

Fortnite Black Friday

Fortnite Black Friday deals - Get more bang for your V-Bucks with great offer (Image: EPIC GAMES)

While an exact end date for Fortnite chapter 2 season 1 wasn't revealed, dataminers have managed to figure it out.

The API for Fortnite shows that Fortnite chapter 2 season 1 will be finishing on Thursday February 6 2020.

This makes sense as historically Epic Games has tended to launch new Battle Passes for Fortnite on a Thursday.

• Stay tuned to Express.co.uk for more Fortnite news

This article contains affiliate links, which means we may receive a commission on any sales of products or services we write about. This article was written completely independently, see more details here

Tuesday, December 3, 2019

Want some Fortnite goodies this Black Friday? This Xbox One S All Digital deal is a victory royale

Fancy a new console for Black Friday 2019? An Xbox One S 1TB All Digital Console is a great choice and this deal comes with Minecraft, Sea of Thieves and some Fortnite V-Bucks and legendary outfit – all for just £129.99.

The Xbox One S 1TB All Digital Console Fortnite & 2 Game Bundle is a can't miss Black Friday deal for anyone looking to get a quality gaming experience for a low low price. This offer sees a blockbuster £70 lopped off the previous price.

Fortnite is a sensation that has absolutely swept the gaming world. This bundle will let you kick off your Fortnite adventure with 2000 V-Bucks to spend on playing the game in style. You'll also get access to the stunning Legendary Rogue Spider Knight Outfit – making you stand out from the crowd.

You can't ignore the two other games in the bundle either. Minecraft is a sensation all of its own and allows you to truly explore your imagination. Sea of Thieves offers a different kind of exploring in the form of swashbuckling pirates and traversing the seven seas with friends.

Getting down to the console itself, the Xbox One S All Digital edition is a superb idea for a console. The times they are a changin' and this Xbox One S ditches the disc drive – inviting you to download all your games and keep your rooms free from the clutter of boxes and discs. 

This All Digital console comes equipped with 1TB of storage which should give you more than enough room to download all your favourite games – including Fortnite, of course.

This Xbox One S All Digital bundle is a remarkable price at under £130 – having previously been priced at just under £200. If you are looking for a console this Black Friday, don't sleep on this offer.

If you want to be up to date with the latest deals over Black Friday, follow us @TrustedDealsUK

We may earn a commission if you click a deal and buy an item. That's why we want to make sure you're well-informed and happy with your purchase, so that you'll continue to rely on us for your buying advice needs.

Watch out PUBG, Call of Duty as Fortnite might come to Android phones

Epic Games launched its popular battle royale game on Android last year but it was supposed to be installed via developers website instead...