If Epic Games’ controversial decision to keep Fortnite off of the Google Play store didn’t cause a rift between the developer and Google, then the recent disclosure of a security flaw on Android might.
On August 24th, Google revealed on its issue tracker that hackers had a free opening to upload malware to users through Epic Games’ Fortnite installer. The vulnerability, which had been fixed by the time Google made the hole known, allowed a hacker to “install a fake APK with any permissions that would normally require user disclosure.” The developer was notified by Google on August 15th, with a fix arriving two days later.
However, while it appears everything was handled correctly behind the scenes, Epic Games was not pleased with Google making the security flaw public. According to an interview with Android Central, Epic Games CEO Tim Sweeney had asked Google to keep the situation private for 90 days to “allow time for the update to be more widely installed.” Instead, Google made the issue known seven days after the problem was resolved.
In a tweet from Sweeney, he said the bold move from Google created an “unnecessary risk for Android users” and was made to “score cheap PR points.”
We asked Google to hold the disclosure until the update was more widely installed. They refused, creating an unnecessary risk for Android users in order to score cheap PR points.
— Tim Sweeney (@TimSweeneyEpic) August 25, 2018
According to the email thread revealed in the Google issue tracker, Sweeney and Epic Games had asked to keep the vulnerability quiet to prevent hackers from exploiting those that hadn’t installed the update with the new security measures. While it’s possible Google disclosed the flaw in Epic Games’ installer to give players a reason to download the fix sooner rather than later, there’s a possibility it could also stem from its shaky relationship with the developer.
Recently, earnings estimates for Fortnite on Android revealed that Google will be missing out on approximately $50 million in revenue this year since the battle royale game isn’t available through the Google Play store. Typically, Google receives a 30 percent cut of revenue from the games on its Play store, but Epic Games found a workaround for that fee by offering the Android version exclusively on its site. With such a massive loss of potential revenue, it’s understandable Google might be frustrated with the developer.
While it will take some time to see where this battle heads, players enjoying the multiplayer shooter on Android should make sure to download the latest patch as soon as possible.
Fortnite is available for PlayStation 4, Xbox One, Nintendo Switch, and mobile.
Source: Android Central