Following the announcement of The Fortnite Mega Drop offering permanent discounts on V-bucks and up to 20% in-game cash purchases for both Android and iOS, hence allowing direct payment to the Epic Games for in-app purchases rather than the officially sanctioned system, Fortnite faced a kickoff from the Apple App Store.
Fortnite, on the other hand, sued Apple and published a protest video — Nineteen Eighty Fortnite – #FreeFortnite on YouTube and its own Fortnite platform.
Soon, Google stepped in and removed Fortnite from Google Play. According to the Google in-app purchase policy, “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.” Here’s what Google had to say regarding the removal.
“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.”
In a matter of hours, Epic filed a lawsuit against Google over alleged antitrust violations stating Google’s monopoly in payment restrictions on the Play Store violating both the Sherman and California’s Cartwright Act. Epic has raised concern on Google Play Store keeping great powers for Android app distributions and that the apps hosted on Play Store need to use the Play Store Billing for any in-app purchases.
Unlike Apple, Google, however, doesn’t impose many restrictions on the Android software. It has even been allowing third-party app store installation that includes the Epic Games App alongside apps sideloading via direct links that don’t affiliate with the Play Store. In fact, Android would allow sideloading Fortnite until the game made it to the Play Store, to which Epic said, “After 18 months of operating Fortnite on Android outside of the Google Play Store, we’ve come to a basic realization. Google puts software downloadable outside of Google Play at a disadvantage.”
Now, coming to the most recent case, Epic has raised concern over Play Store becoming a monopoly for Android app distribution, which stated, “Notwithstanding its promises to make Android devices open to competition, Google has erected contractual and technological barriers that foreclose competing ways of distributing apps to Android users, ensuring that the Google Play Store accounts for nearly all the downloads of apps from app stores on Android devices.”