The Epic Games versus Apple drama has gotten a bit more interesting as Google just pulled Fortnite mobile from its own app store. This doesn’t mean the game is entirely gone from Android — you just can’t get it from the Google Play Store at this time. The change comes only a few months after Epic released the battle royale hit in Google’s official app store, something it did alongside criticism of the ‘disadvantage’ apps outside of the ecosystem face.
Earlier today, August 13, Epic added a direct payment option to its Fortnite mobile app, violating app store policies that require payments to be made through the app stores themselves — something that includes a fee that, Epic says, forces it to raise the prices that players must pay. It took very little time for Apple to remove the game from its App Store, kicking off a dramatic response from Epic.
The company released, in rapid fashion, a court docket revealing a lawsuit it has filed against Apple, as well as a new 1984-themed trailer that went live in the video game alongside messages about the issue and a #freefortnite hashtag. Now, only a couple of hours later, Google has pulled the same game from its Play Store, forcing Android users to get it from Epic directly or, depending on the device, from the Galaxy Store.
The reason for the Android removal is the same as the reason for the iOS removal — the mobile game was quietly updated to include a direct payment option, sidestepping Google entirely. This was, Google has said in a statement, a violation of its Play Store policies and that the game can return in the future (assuming it follows the rules, that is).
What’s the big issue? By having Fortnite mobile in the Play Store, Epic is obligated to use the Google Play in-app billing system to process payments from players. As with Apple, Google gobbles up a 30-percent cut of these transactions, something Epic hasn’t been shy about criticizing in the past. Epic hasn’t yet posted any sort of response to this turn of events, but we’ll likely see something about it in the near future.