Google Removes Fortnite from Play Store, Prompting Lawsuit

Google removed Fortnite from the Google Play Store on Thursday, following Apple's example.
Google removed Fortnite from the Google Play Store on Thursday, following Apple's example. | Courtesy of Epic Games

Google removed Fortnite for Android from its Google Play Store platform Thursday night, just hours after Apple did the same, for attempting to evade the royalty payments required for appearing in the store.

Google Play's rules require that games with in-app purchases send those payments through Google's infrastructure, entitling them to a cut of the payment. Those same rules don't apply to non-game apps.

"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," reads the Play Store's payment policy. Google then takes a 30% cut on those purchases, the same amount as Apple.

Epic Games' decision to add an option for Fortnite players to pay it directly violated that rule, prompting Google to remove it from the store. Epic Games, in turn, filed a lawsuit against Google. It is now in the early stages of litigation against both tech giants.

Unlike the iOS situation, Fortnite remains available on Android — just not through the Google Play Store. Users can still install and receive updates to Fortnite on Android by going through the Epic Games app or using Samsung Galaxy Store on Samsung devices. Users on those platforms gain access to the newly reduced V-Bucks prices.

Epic Games and Google have clashed over the Play Store payments previously. Epic Games pulled Fortnite from the Play Store in August 2018, though it remained accessible through the Epic Games app and Samsung store. Fortnite returned to the Play Store eighteen months later.