Mobile Games Hotspot: 'Fortnite' Finally Lands on Google Play Store After Months-Long Standoff

Courtesy of Epic Games
'Fortnite'

Elsewhere in gaming-on-the-go: Jam City's 'Hogwarts Mystery' celebrates two-year anniversary; new content in 'Mario Kart Tour' and 'Marvel Realm of Champions'; and mobile game spending and usage see spikes amid coronavirus lockdown.

Mobile Games Hotspot is a curated weekly roundup of the top stories in gaming on-the-go.

Fortnite has made its way onto the Google Play Store after first releasing as a third-party app on Android more than 18 months ago. Epic Games cited Google's unfair warnings and classification of third-party apps as malware, along with other disadvantages, as reasons to move Fortnite to Google's popular app marketplace.

"After 18 months of operating Fortnite on Android outside of the Google Play Store, we've come to a basic realization," Epic Games explained in a statement to Polygon. "Google puts software downloadable outside of Google Play at a disadvantage, through technical and business measures such as scary, repetitive security pop-ups for downloaded and updated software, restrictive manufacturer and carrier agreements and dealings, Google public relations characterizing third-party software sources as malware and new efforts such as Google Play Protect to outright block software obtained outside the Google Play store."

Epic Games has also voiced displeasure with the 30 percent cut for all in-app purchases Google requires for games released through the Google Play Store. This is in stark contrast to Epic Games' own game distribution service, the Epic Games Store, where a 12 percent cut for the platform is the standard. 

"We hope that Google will revise its policies and business dealings in the near future, so that all developers are free to reach and engage in commerce with customers on Android and in the Play Store through open services, including payment services, that can compete on a level playing field," said Epic Games. 

Here's what else is happening in the world of mobile games:

Two Years for Hogwarts Mystery

Harry Potter: Hogwarts Mystery is celebrating two years since release with a few rewards for current players, along with some interesting facts. Starting this Saturday, players will have an opportunity to create and submit their own costume design for a chance to be one of three finalists that see their design introduced in-game this fall. A digital party onesie outfit will be sent out on the same day and the House Common Rooms will feature party decor.

Over the past two years, 50.5 million quidditch matches were played and 2.1 million O.W.L. exams were taken across 35 billion minutes played in Jam City's mobile game. Gryffindor was the most common house chosen, followed by Ravenclaw, Hufflepuff and, finally, Slytherin. More than 400 outfits were designed, 2 billion spells were cast, and the most popular creature was the Niffler.

Danganronpa Trilogy Coming to Mobile

As part of an ongoing series of announcements regarding the series' 10th anniversary, all three main Danganronpa games are headed to mobile. Ports of each game, including Danganronpa: Trigger Happy Havoc, Danganronpa 2: Goodbye Despair and Danganronpa V3: Killing Harmony, will revamp the user interface to work specifically with phones and other mobile devices. Touch controls will also be added. A new gallery featuring illustrations, event scenes, voice lines and concept materials is also planned. No word on a release date yet.

Mobile Gaming Spikes Amid Pandemic

Mobile gaming engagement is unsurprisingly up during the current coronavirus pandemic, according to stats provided by IronSource. Data pulled from locations such as China, Italy, South Korea and the U.S. shows an increase in game installs and higher interaction with ads. China showed a 60 percent increase in weekday gameplay since the country went into lockdown. A bump of 25 percent for installing new mobile games was observed in the U.S., and China saw an increase of 15 percent in ad engagement despite a dip in brand advertising spending.

A New House Joins Marvel Realm of Champions

As a lead-up to its release later in 2020, Marvel Realm of Champions continues to reveal a new house each month. March saw the introduction of the Asgardian Republic, a celestial landscape led by War Thor. This month sees the land of Pyramix X get a proper introduction. The Egyptian-themed land, along with its capital Mutopia, are led by Pharaoh. These two regions join the already-announced houses of The Kingdom of Wakanda, Iron House, Temple of Vishanti and Patriot Garrison.

Tricks Get the Spotlight in Mario Kart Tour

A new tour sped its way into Mario Kart Tour this week as the Easter-themed Yoshi Tour came to a close and kicked off the new Tricks Tour. Although there aren't any new tracks or courses, this tour features a higher volume of trick variants of existing courses, adding ramps and speed boosts to extend the length of combos. To go alongside the release of the new Super Mario Maker 2 update on Nintendo Switch, Builder Mario and Builder Toad, along with Gold Dry Bones, are this tour's new characters.