Like Apple earlier this afternoon, Google has just removed Fortnite from the Play Store for violating its policies. The battle royale game this morning introduced a direct payment option to bypass giving a cut of in-app purchases to Google.
The Fortnite listing was removed from the Play Store just before 4 p.m. PT. Google issued the following statement:
“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.”
Fortnite’s move this morning disregarded a Google policy that requires purchases made inside games to use the Play Store’s In-app Billing method. Google’s argument revolves around safety and user experience.
Until this issue is resolved, Epic Games will not be able to issue new updates via the Play Store. However, the developer could instruct users to download the “Epic Games Apps” from its website. This sideload option is not available on iPhone and iPad devices, and Google alludes to this available workaround in its statement.
Today’s move by the Fortnite developer is the latest in a long line of criticisms against mobile app stores. Back in 2018, the company brought the game to Android via a direct install on its website. In December of last year, Epic tried to get a special billing exemption from Google. Four months later, the game was launched on Google Play.
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