- Google has pulled the popular game Fornite from the Google Play Store.
- This was due to Epic Games launching a new direct payment system inside the app.
- Google claims this feature violates its app store policies.
Update: August 13, 2020 (9:55PM ET): The Verge reports that Epic has filed a lawsuit against Google. It claims Google’s restrictions over Play Store payments violate US antitrust laws.
Just hours after Apple pulled the popular battle royale game Fortnite from its iOS App Store, Google has done the same thing. The company has now also removed the Android version of Fortnite from the Google Play Store.
The removal of the game comes on the same day Epic Games launched a new direct payment system inside Fortnite. It offered up to a 20% discount to purchase Fortnite’s in-game V-Bucks currency compared to purchasing the same V-Bucks via Apple’s App Store or Google Play. Apple quickly removed the game from its app store today. In a statement, the company said the feature was not reviewed ahead of time by Apple and that it violated “the App Store guidelines regarding in-app payments that apply to every developer who sells digital goods or services.”
In a statement sent to Android Authority, Google cited similar reasons for removing Fortnite from Google Play:
The open Android ecosystem lets developers distribute apps through multiple app stores. For game developers who choose to use the Play Store, we have consistent policies that are fair to developers and keep the store safe for users. While Fortnite remains available on Android, we can no longer make it available on Play because it violates our policies. However, we welcome the opportunity to continue our discussions with Epic and bring Fortnite back to Google Play.
Epic has already announced it is taking legal action against Apple for removing Fortnite from the iOS App Store.
Epic Games first launched Fortnite for Android in April 2018 outside the Google Play Store. However, in April 2020, the developer finally decided to offer the game via Google Play, concluding that Google “puts software downloadable outside of Google Play at a disadvantage” for various reasons.
Unlike iOS device owners, Android smartphone and tablet owners can still legally download and install Fortnite. This can be done via a web install, and Samsung device owners can download the game via its own Galaxy Store app.
It will be interesting to see if Epic Games’ actions today could cause other developers to follow suit, and it Apple and Google might change their in-app policies as a result.