Epic Games launched its battle royale hit Fortnite on Android devices last week with a big catch: it was exclusive to Samsung-made phones for a few days as a way to help market the new Samsung Galaxy Note 9. Now, the exclusivity period appears to be over, and beta invite codes are going out to select users of non-Samsung phones like the Google Pixel 2 XL.
If you’re itching to dive off the battle bus on mobile, you might have to hold on just a little while longer: there appears to be a waiting list, just like there was when the game launched on iOS. There’s also a bit of trickiness involving exactly how you get the app because Epic announced it would be distributing the Android version of Fortnite on its own terms.
Last week, the app was distributed through Samsung’s app store, and Epic is using its own website and a Fortnite Installer program to distribute the game more widely on all compatible Android devices. (Epic CEO Tim Sweeney said this is basically to avoid paying Google’s 30 percent cut on in-app purchases.)
Given this unprecedented arrangement, here’s a step-by-step breakdown to make sure you’re prepared and understand the best way to start playing Fortnite on Android.
Step 1: Avoid the Play Store
First and foremost, do not download anything from the Google Play Store or from a third-party web source. Epic has made it clear that it’s only distributing Fortnite on Android through its own website. That means any link you see on Twitter, Reddit, or in the Play Store that claims to provide the official APK file is suspect and not worth the risk of infecting your device with a virus or some other malicious software.
Even searching for the app on the Play Store will return a special warning from Google reading, “Fortnite Battle Royale by Epic Games, Inc is not available on Google Play.” So be wary of anyone claiming to have a workaround to the waiting list, or of any app that looks like it could be legit because, well, it’s probably not.
Step 2: Check your device
If you have a compatible Samsung device, you can download Fortnite right away, either through the Samsung Game Launcher or Epic’s website. That device list includes the new Note 9, of course, but that phone hasn’t even launched yet. Other compatible Samsung devices include the Galaxy S7 / S7 Edge, S8 / S8 Plus, S9 / S9 Plus, and the Note 8, as well as the Tab S3 and S4 tablets.
For those with non-Samsung devices, Epic has a full list on its website here. It includes the original Pixel, Pixel XL, and their successors, along with a suite of midrange to high-end Asus, Huawei, LG, OnePlus, and Xiaomi devices.
Step 3: Sign up for the waiting list
If you don’t have a Samsung device, the best way to get Fortnite on Android right now is to sign up for Epic’s beta through its website. You can do so on mobile or on the web, as Epic is asking just for your email address. When you get to the front of the queue, you’ll get an email invite.
Make sure you log in with your existing Epic account, be it your Epic username on PC or your PlayStation Network / Xbox Live account. That way, you can get Battle Pass progression across platforms and keep your skins, emotes, and other cosmetics on Android.
Step 4: Wait for your invite
The final part of the process is to just hold tight. Epic says it’s “inviting players in waves” and that “you’ll be notified via email once you are invited.” Given how sophisticated the company’s network infrastructure is these days and how many platforms it now supports simultaneously, I imagine it won’t take too long for invites to go out. The company says the process should take a few days.
The iOS version of Fortnite remained in a sign-up beta for a little more than two weeks before it launched for everyone on the App Store. The same should be true for Android — that is unless Epic runs into some unforeseen hurdles due to its direct distribution model. So if you don’t like the waiting list approach, the wider availability may likely occur sometime in September.
Step 5: Download the installer and then the game
Because of the unique distribution model here, you’ll have to download two separate applications, even on Samsung devices. The first will be the Fortnite Installer, which is the official APK file that then installs the game.
In order to do this, you may need to turn off special permissions in your Android settings that allow you to download third-party applications, depending on which version of Android you have and what your existing security settings are. After that, you’ll need to go through a series of download sequences that are a bit more involved than your standard app installation.
Once it’s completed, you should be able to boot up Fortnite, log in into your account, and start playing. Epic is advising users to keep the Fortnite Installer program, as it’ll be responsible for updating the game with new patches.