Google Just Booted Fortnite From the Play Store [Updated: Epic Games is Suing Google Too]

fortnite

On Friday Epic Games announced it was suing Apple after the company booted Fortnite from the App Store. Now Google has has booted it from the Play Store, too.

Apple Removes Fortnite

The blow up between Apple and Epic Games  started on Thursday. Epic Games enabled players to purchase V-Bucks, Fortnite’s in-game currency, directly in the game’s app. This was rolled out across Android and iOS, meaning it skipped the usual in-app payment method

Epic made this method more enticing for players by offering a 20 per cent discount on direct payments.

According to Epic Games, both Google and Apple take a 30 per cent cut of in-app purchases. As such, the 20 per cent discount actually benefits the devs more.

Image: Epic Game

Apple has since said this move is a violation of the App Store guidelines and removed the game.

“Today, Epic Games took the unfortunate step of violating the App Store guidelines that are applied equally to every developer and designed to keep the store safe for our users. As a result their Fortnite app has been removed from the store,” Apple said in a statement to The Verge.

“Epic enabled a feature in its app which was not reviewed or approved by Apple, and they did so with the express intent of violating the App Store guidelines regarding in-app payments that apply to every developer who sells digital goods or services.”

Since then Epic announced its suing Apple. It provided this statement to Gizmodo:

“Today, Epic announced the Fortnite Mega Drop. The Fortnite Mega Drop is an up to 20% price reduction on all V-Bucks and real-money offers inside of Fortnite when using select payment methods. On mobile, we’ve introduced a new way to pay on iOS and Android: Epic direct payment. When players choose to use Epic direct payments, they save up to 20%.”

“Apple has blocked access to Fortnite on iOS devices. Epic has taken legal action to end Apple’s anti-competitive restrictions on mobile device marketplaces. The papers are available to read here.”

Epic also released an incredible video on social media which essentially declares war on Apple. It depicts a literal Apple acting like a dictator and os called Nineteen Eighty-Fortnite.

“Epic Games has defied the App Store Monopoly. In retaliation, Apple is blocking Fortnite from a billion devices,” Epic said on the Fortnite Twitter account. “Visit fn.gg/freefortnite and join the fight to stop 2020 from becoming ‘1984’.”

Google Bans Fortnite

Google has now joined Apple in booting Fortnite. The game has now been removed from Google Play.

Google has also cited policy violations, fairness and safety as its reasons.

“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,” Google said in an email to Gizmodo Australia.

“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.”

Update 11:45am:

A lawsuit against Google has also been filed by Epic Games. It reads much the same as the one filed against Apple but also opens by taking a big jab at Google:

In 1998, Google was founded as an exciting young company with a unique motto: “Don’t Be Evil”. Google’s Code of Conduct explained that this
admonishment was about “how we serve our users” and “much more than that . . . it’s also about doing the right thing more generally”.

Twenty-two years later, Google has relegated its motto to nearly an afterthought, and is using its size to do evil upon competitors, innovators, customers, and users in a slew of markets it has grown to monopolize. This case is about doing the right thing in one important area, the Android
mobile ecosystem, where Google unlawfully maintains monopolies in multiple related markets, denying consumers the freedom to enjoy their mobile devices—freedom that Google always promised Android users would have.

Gizmodo Australia has reached out to Epic Games for comment.

Fortnite has been removed before

This isn’t the first time Fortnite has been removed from Google Play. Epic Games removed it back in 2018, distributing the game directly instead.

But it returned to Google Play in April, 2020. Epic alluded to this being because Google makes it harder for software downloads that occur outside of its ecosystem.

“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 said in a statement at the time.

Samsung follows suit

Gizmodo Australia has discovered that Fortnite has also been removed from the Samsung Galaxy Store, despite still be advertised by Epic Games. You can read our exclusive story on it here.

This story s updating…