CARY — Just hours after Apple removed Epic Game’s mega-hit “Fornite” from its app store, Google is following its lead.
Thursday evening, the Mountain View-based company kicked the game off its Google Play Store for Android.
“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,” Google said in a statement send to USA TODAY. “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.”
The move capped a wild day and escalates an on-going battle between the tech giants and the Cary-based games developer, which is now taking legal action.
It started earlier in the day when Epic Games launched Epic direct payment, a new way to make in-app purchases on iOS and Android that skirts the controversial 30 percent charged by Apple’s app stores.
Its founder and CEO Tim Sweeney, along with other developers and lawmakers, has long criticized the tech giants’ rules of taking a cut of payments of in-app purchases. So he finally offered an alternative, in direct violation of their policies.
Called “Fornite Mega Drop,” it’s a permanent 20 percent discount on V-Bucks, the in-game currency used in “Fortnite.”
Shortly after, Apple removed “Fortnite” entirely from its App store.
But Epic expected the backlash and decided to immediately sue.
In the 65-page lawsuit filed in the United States District Court, Northern District of California, Epic Games said Apple has become what it once railed against: “the behemoth seeking to control markets, block competition, and stifle innovation.”
Furthermore, Apple’s removal of Fortnite is yet another example of Apple “flexing its enormous power in order to impose unreasonable restraints and unlawfully maintain its 100 percent” monopoly over the iOS In-App Payment Processing Market.”
It is unclear if Epic Games plans to file a similar lawsuit against Google.
This story is unfolding.