Apple removed Fortnite from its App Store on Thursday, citing developer Epic Games’ addition of new, unapproved features to the massively popular battle royale game. Now it seems Google has done the same, unceremoniously booting Fortnite from the Google Play Store.
As is the case with Apple, at contention is Fortnite‘s new in-game payment option. Fortnite allows players to purchase in-game currency V-bucks with real money, which can then be traded for cosmetic items.
On Thursday, Epic Games updated the Fortnite app to let players buy V-bucks directly from the developer, offering a 20 percent discount from its regular price and bypassing Google Play In-app billing.
However, Google’s payment policy demands all in-game purchases from apps in the Google Play Store use its billing system, including purchases of “virtual game products” such as V-bucks. Like Apple, Google also takes 30 percent of the purchase price on such transactions, so it has a vested interest in keeping them within Google Play In-app billing.
In a statement to Mashable, a Google spokesperson noted that Fortnite is still available on Android — just not from the Google Play Store.
“The open Android ecosystem lets developers distribute apps through multiple app stores,” said the spokesperson. “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.”
Players can indeed still download Fortnite on Android via the Epic Games website, but the app’s removal from the Google Play Store makes it notably less easy to access on this platform.
A recent update from Mashable reads: “Also as with Apple, Epic Games has now filed a lawsuit against Google in the District Court of California, claiming it maintains an unlawful monopolization of Android app distribution and processing payments within said apps.
“Accusing Google of engaging in “anti-competitive and unfair conduct” and “denying consumers the freedom to enjoy their mobile devices,” Epic Games is seeking injunctive relief that would grant “an open, competitive Android ecosystem for all users and industry participants.”
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