[Update: The beta is here! Epic has now begun the beta for select Android devices. We've run through how to download Fortnite on Android in our separate how-to guide, but the page below has everything else you need to know about the mobile version of the popular game.]
Battle royale shooter Fortnite is the most-played video game on the planet, with PC, console and iOS gamers logging on in their tens of millions to try and win one of its 100-player, last-man-standing matches.
- How to download and play Fortnite on Android
After a very short exclusivity window for Samsung devices, the beta has been rolled out to a more extensive list of Android phones. And we're expecting to see the official launch in the coming weeks, though we've passed the rumored August 12 launch date.
Here’s everything you need to know about the gaming phenomenon coming to your phone or tablet.
What is Fortnite on Android?
The mobile version is the full game you know and love from PCs and consoles, with the same weapons, the same map and an identical update schedule.
The controls are adapted for touchscreen, with some actions automated to make it less fiddly, including picking up items and opening doors.
Elements of the UI are different too, with extra building buttons popping up, and there are both on-screen footstep and gunshot indicators to tell you the direction of any nearby sounds. Other than that, it’s the same game.
Fornite on Android release date
Epic has not yet announced an exact release date, though the beta is now live and the official launch can't be far behind.
Sources had told both XDA Developers and 9to5Google that the phone will hit stores on August 24, and that Fortnite on Android will be a Samsung exclusive available exclusively for 30 days after that – possible even just on the Samsung Galaxy Note 9 – before unlocking for other Android phones on September 23.
Thankfully it came to us a lot sooner, though new phones are still being added to the roster of devices able to play the game.
Anyone playing the newly-announced Galaxy Note 9 or Galaxy Tab S4 also got an exclusive Galaxy-themed character skin to wear.
What devices will be compatible with Fortnite on Android?
A post on Epic's website confirmed the beta was initially running on a select number of Samsung Galaxy devices, with other Android phones to follow shortly after.
You can see the full list of devices running the game in the box, right. But remember: it’s likely that more devices will be supported when Android on Fortnite comes out.
How will you install the game?
First thing's first: you won't find it on the Google Play Store like all your other apps.
While iOS users have been happily downloading Fortnite from Apple's App Store, anyone on Android will have to find a dedicated install file on the Fortnite website.
All players have to do is open an internet browser on their smartphone – whether that's Google Chrome, Mozilla Firefox, or Internet Explorer – and go to Fortnite.com/Android, where they'll find the Fortnite Installer for download.
The install file APK will only take up about 2mb of storage, though the game itself comes in at a more sizeable 2GB.
Why would Epic keep the Android version off the Play Store?
It’s certainly a bold decision—the Play Store is where Android users get the vast majority of their apps, and so by not being there, Epic potentially loses some players. But Fortnite is a huge household name, and perhaps the developer is hoping players won’t mind taking a few extra steps to get it on their phone.
Besides, by forcing players to download the game through its website, Epic doesn’t have to share any of the money it makes from in-app purchases with Google. If Fortnite was on the Play Store, Google would take a 30% slice, as Apple does with the iOS version.
An official press release cited Epic's desire to build a "direct relationship" with its players – while acknowledging the "economic efficiency" of circumventing Google's store tax entirely.
Considering that Fortnite on iOS has just passed 100 million downloads and cleared $160 million from in-app purchases, swerving the Play Store may prove to be a smart business decision.
Will Fortnite on Android support cross-play with iOS, PCs and consoles?
Yes – Fortnite on Android will be compatible with iOS, PC, PS4 and Xbox One versions of the shooter, so you’ll be able to squad up with your friends on other platforms. Epic has not said whether cross-play for Android will be available at launch, or whether it will arrive later.
Stay tuned to this page for updates as-and-when they happen.
- Everything you need to know about Fortnite