Just a few hours after Apple removed Epic Games’ Fortnite from its App Store, Google has followed suit and has removed the game from its Google Play Store. Epic Games has sued Google over the move.
Epic made a change in how in-app purchases work in both the iOS and Android versions of the app, allowing players to bypass both the iOS App Store and Google Play Store’s in-app purchase systems. Subverting the in-app purchase system is against both Apple’s and Google’s store guidelines.
From Google’s guidelines:
Developers offering products within a game downloaded on Google Play or providing access to game content must use Google Play In-app Billing as the method of payment.
Rule 3.1.1 of Apple’s App Store guidelines:
3.1.1 In-App Purchase:
– If you want to unlock features or functionality within your app, (by way of example: subscriptions, in-game currencies, game levels, access to premium content, or unlocking a full version), you must use in-app purchase. Apps may not use their own mechanisms to unlock content or functionality, such as license keys, augmented reality markers, QR codes, etc. Apps and their metadata may not include buttons, external links, or other calls to action that direct customers to purchasing mechanisms other than in-app purchase.
Google made a statement to The Verge that its in-app purchase policies are designed to keep the Play Store safe for users. The statement is similar to one offered by Apple:
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.
Although the game has been removed from both the App Store and the Google Play Store, it can still be used, it just cannot be updated. The game can be downloaded through the Epic Games app or through the Samsung Galaxy Store.
The Verge reports Epic Games has also levied a lawsuit against Google for removing Fortnite from the Google Play store. The company filed a similar lawsuit against Apple for the game’s removal from the App Store. Epic’s complaint alleges that Google’s payment restrictions on the Play Store constitute a monopoly, and thus a violation of both the Sherman Act and California’s Cartwright Act.