Epic Games appears to be taking its desire to better control the distribution of its software to the next level, expanding its recently-launched Epic Games Store distribution platform to include support for Android smartphones and tablets in an effort to break free from Google's ecosystem.

Announced late last year, the Epic Games Store is company founder and chief executive Tim Sweeney's answer to Valve's Steam: a platform on which both Epic and third-party developers can publish their titles for sale and distribution, with Epic sharing 88 percent of the revenue compared to Valve's tiered system which starts at 70 percent and maxes out at 80 percent for best-selling titles. Naturally, there's also a flip-side: Epic gets to pocket 12 percent of the proceeds from sales of third-party games, a wholly new revenue stream for the company, while sales of its own games through the platform will let it keep 100 percent of the revenue.

Epic isn't content with offering competition to Valve's Steam, though: The Wall Street Journal has reported that the company is to extend its platform to support mobile devices, starting with those running Google's Android. This is key for two primary reasons: Like other distribution platforms, Google's Play platform takes a cut of sale proceeds; it also, however, takes a cut of any in-app revenue including subscriptions and microtransactions.

Extending the Epic Games Store to support mobile software wouldn't be the company's first attempt at skirting the Google tax: The company's mobile port of Fortnite Battle Royale is distributed outside the Google Play ecosystem for that very reason, a decision which led to a since-patched security issue reported by Google in a move Sweeney attacked as a move to 'score cheap PR points'.

Epic has not stated when it plans to go live with a mobile version of the Epic Games Store beyond a target of some time this year. When it does, however, it will likely be an Android exclusive, with Apple iOS devices being rather more locked-down when it comes to installation of software from third-party sources.

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October 14 2021 | 15:04