Once removed from the Apple App Store, Fortnite has also been launched from Google Play Store for Android. Earlier today, Epic Games rolled out an update to both the iPhone and Android versions of the game allowing users to pay Epic directly for in-app purchases instead of using the main sanctioned system. formula for both platforms.
What’s next is a wild ride: Apple rocks Fortnite out of the App Store, then Epic sued Apple, and finally there was an in-game video parody of Apple’s own 1984 advertising, positioning Apple as the monopoly.
Now, Google is joining the conversation. Like Apple, Google requires games to use the Google Play system for in-app purchases. While the Play Store rules are somewhat looser than Apple̵7;s when it comes to in-app purchases, Google does get the edge in games. It’s pretty clear: “Developers that provide products in a game downloaded on Google Play or provide access to game content must use Google Play In-App Payments as a payment method. maths.” Google’s system cuts 30%, just like Apple’s.
Epic’s update earlier today violated that rule and while Google took longer to make its ban decision Fortnite Compared with Apple, both companies reach the same conclusion.
The open Android ecosystem allows developers to distribute apps through multiple app stores. For game developers who choose to use the Play Store, we have consistent policies that are fair for developers and keep the store safe for users. While Fortnite is still available on Android, we cannot make it available on Play anymore as it violates our policies. However, we welcome the opportunity to continue discussions with Epic and bring Fortnite back to Google Play.
A Google spokesperson emphasized The Verge that Android is an open ecosystem that allows multiple stores, and that Google Play policies should apply equally to all developers. The spokesperson said there were no problems with the other stores currently available or Epic distributing its game on it.
You can still install Fortnite on Android, however. Epic itself directs visitors to its website, where they can download it Fortnite through the Epic Games app or via Samsung Galaxy Store on Samsung devices. This is different from the iPhone and iPad, where it is now impossible to install games if you haven’t already.
Epic has a history of arguing with Google over these Play Store rules. In August 2018, Epic pulled Fortnite from the Google Play Store and direct distribution. That’s only possible since Android allows installation from third-party sources, although that makes the process seem a bit risky given the security warnings that appear when you do.
Eighteen months later, Epic invests and puts Fortnite went back to the Google Play Store, though not without some very angry words about it. Here’s Epic’s statement from April 2020:
Google puts downloadable software outside of Google Play at a disadvantage, through business and technical measures like terrifying, repetitive security pop-ups for software downloaded and updated Google public relations, manufacturer and carrier restriction agreements and agreements that describe the source of third-party software as malware, and new efforts such as Google Play Protect to Completely block software acquired outside the Google Play store.
A popular application like Fortnite installed through other means – in particular, other stores – potentially reducing the centrality of the Google Play Store on Android – and possibly increasing fragmentation. There are already competitive stores – Samsung is pushing its own store on its Android devices, for example. But in general, the Google Play Store is a popular source of software for most people.
Epic has actively encouraged users to also use the version coming from the Samsung store, telling users they could get a discount that caused this whole mess if they did: “You will see that V-Bucks and real money deals are now up to 20% discounted through the Epic Games app at epicgames.com and the Samsung Galaxy Store. ”
If Epic can get users into the habit of using other stores, it means users will start to want to use other stores to install other apps. If you’ve used any Samsung Galaxy phone lately, you’ve seen it offer the option to handle settings for several key apps. That means Google can solve the monopoly issue with its decision, they think there is real competition for app stores on Android.
For another game-related example, see Microsoft. Its upcoming Game Pass Ultimate streaming service (you know it’s xCloud) will be available on both Google Play and on Samsung’s Galaxy Store. If you install it via Google Play, you won’t be able to purchase DLC content for Xbox games because of that 30% discount. However, if you happen to install it through the Samsung store, you We There is an in-app purchase available. Here is Microsoft’s statement on the matter:
Our vision is to bring a complete, full-featured experience with in-app purchases to the app stores. However, we are following all store policies and do not offer in-app purchases in some stores at this time. To obtain complete in-app purchases, Samsung customers can download the Xbox Game Pass app from the Galaxy Store; SK Telecom customers can also enjoy a full experience through the ONE Store.
(Meanwhile, Microsoft’s game-streaming service is completely disallowed on the iPhone – and Microsoft isn’t happy about that either.)
Given Epic’s overwhelming response to the Apple ban – the 1984 lawsuit and advertising – it is certain that the company will react to Google as well. Obviously we’ll let you know when it happens.