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Fortnite Removed From the Play and App Stores for Rules Violation

By Bill Toulas / August 14, 2020

It looks like Fortnite has returned to not being available on the official Android and iOS app stores. Reportedly, Epic Games has attempted to push an update on the two mobile platform Fortnite clients that would allow users to pay the publisher directly for in-app purchases like player items, skins, etc.

This violates Google’s and Apple’s rules, which dictate that all in-app purchases must pass through their billing and payments system, directing a 30% towards their way (both have the same cut). Any developers not respecting this rule are ousted from the stores until their billing system is made compliant again.

A Google spokesperson offered the following statement to The Verge, as kicking out such a successful and popular title from the Play Store isn’t just another day in work for them:

“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.”

As for Apple, their (condensed) statement can be found below:

“Today, Epic Games took the unfortunate step of violating the App Store guidelines that are applied equally to every developer and designed to keep the store safe for our users. As a result, their Fortnite app has been removed from the store… The fact that their business interests now lead them to push for a special arrangement does not change the fact that these guidelines create a level playing field for all developers and make the store safe for all users. We will make every effort to work with Epic to resolve these violations so they can return Fortnite to the App Store.”

So, for Google and Apple, the situation is pretty clear - “fix your stuff, and we’ll allow it back to the Play Store.” But why did Epic Games gamble with their most successful game in the first place? Was this wishful thinking from their side, a mistake, or something else? Epic Games hasn’t been clear about it, but it can’t be that they were so naive thinking that Apple and Google wouldn’t notice.

On the contrary, the gaming company is actually attempting to apply pressure to Google and Apple right now by throwing the ball on their court. They say the 30% cut isn’t allowing them to drop the prices for the players, so the tech giants are preventing the vast Fortnite userbase from enjoying the saving benefits that direct payments would bring.

They even call people to join the fight against anti-competitive restrictions on mobile marketplaces using the #FreeFortnite hashtag, and they have also launched legal action against Apple. In summary, Epic Games feels they are big enough to take this bold step, and it looks like they were prepared for what was to come.

But what happens with people who already had Fortnite downloaded on their devices? First of all, updates to the app are now blocked. Those using the 13.40 update may continue to enjoy the game, but they won’t be able to access new content.

This means that Chapter 2, Season 4, and the new Battle Pass will be out of reach. Unfortunately, these users won’t be able to ask for a refund directly from Epic Games, and Apple is unlikely to give them any money back for in-game stuff they purchased.



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