The most popular video game in the world is Fortnite. The most popular smartphone operating system in the world is Android. And yet until Thursday, overlap between the two has been severely hamstrung; you could only install it on a Samsung Galaxy device, or by getting off of a beta waitlist. Now, though, anyone with an Android phone can Electro Shuffle to their heartâ€™s content on their tiny screens. Hereâ€™s how.
For starters, this is not an app you can download from the Google Play Store. If you see something there that claims to be Fortnite, skip it. In fact, if you see Fortnite anywhere on the internet other than the website of its developer, Epic, donâ€™t even think about clicking or tapping or engaging with it in any way. Itâ€™s almost certainly malware.
To be clear, this is a rare admonishment. Most app developers go through official channels, in part because itâ€™s easier for customers, and in part because the built-in security protections of the Play Store and Appleâ€™s App Store make everyoneâ€™s lives a little easier. But Google takes a 30 percent cut of all Play Store sales, so Epic has opted to circumvent it, betting that Fortniteâ€™s popularity will inspire fans to go through the necessary hoops. (The App Store also takes 30 percent off the top, but Apple doesnâ€™t give developers any alternatives to its official sales channel. Google does.)
Anyways, enough backstory! Here are the aforementioned hoops.
First, make sure your phone can handle it. You can see a list of officially supported devices here, but it seems like any midrange or better device from the last couple of years should work.
Next, head to either fortnite.com/android on your Android smartphone, or this page on desktop with a QR code scanner handy. (Since youâ€™ll need to have your phone out either way, maybe just do it all on there.)
From there, you can download the Fortnite Installer, either from Samsung if you have a Samsung deviceâ€”although presumably if you do, and youâ€™re interested in Fortnite, youâ€™ve gone through this alreadyâ€”or from Epic Games. Tapping on the link will initiate a download of an APK file, which will install Fortnite for you just as soon as you adjust some pesky security settings.
Remember, Android by default doesnâ€™t let you install apps from unapproved sources. This is by and large a good thing, because the internet is a well-documented hellscape of malware and bad intentions. As such, if you try to open the Fortnite APK, Chrome will hit you with the following message:
For your security, your phone is not allowed to install unknown apps
from this source.
To make an exception, just this once, go ahead and tap on Settings right below that prompt. Thatâ€™ll take you to a scary-sounding page called Install Unknown Apps, where you should toggle over Allow from this source. Then tap your way back to the Fortnite Installer, which will ask you if you want to install this application, which is a little on the nose for an application installer. Tap Install, and wait patiently for it to do its job.
Once the app is installed, tap Open if you want to experience Fortnite on your Android phone right away, which you almost certainly do, because youâ€™ve had to wait quite a long time; it launched on iOS in March, after all.
Youâ€™re not quite done, though. Once youâ€™ve installed the installer, you still have to actually install the game. Confusing! Before you do, Android will ask if you want Fortnite to have permission to â€œaccess photos, media, and files on your device,â€� which sounds reckless, but mostly means it needs to be able to store things. Tap Allow, wait another minute or so, depending on your Wi-Fi speed. Tap Launch, wait for yet more downloading to happenâ€”nearly 2 GB this time, Fortnite is an absolute unitâ€”and then, finally you can sign in and play.
When you do, keep a few things in mind. Your experience might be a little janky, depending on your specific hardware. Youâ€™ll only be competing against other mobile combatants; the console folk have their own playpens. Bluetooth controllers and voice chat arenâ€™t supported, although Epic says the latter will come at some point. And donâ€™t delete the installer; thatâ€™s how security patches and other updates will reach you.
Last, itâ€™s still technically a beta, so take whatever frustrations are inherent in mobile gaming and expect a few more piled on as well. Still, at least you donâ€™t have to feel left out anymore.
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