Epic and Google in stand off as Fortnite tries to land on the Play Store

Epic refuses to abide by Play Store’s billing policy, but Google isn’t budging.

Image via Epic Games

Epic Games is trying to get Fortnite onto Google’s Play Store, but the two developers are disagreeing over a statute that allows Google to receive a substantial slice of the game’s in-app purchases.

Fortnite launched on mobile Android devices over a year ago. The massively successful battle royale game cannot currently be downloaded through Android’s Play Store, which is developed and owned by Google. Epic refuses to abide by Google’s mandated 30 percent revenue cut of in-app purchases.

CEO Tim Sweeney said that Epic is submitting Fortnite to Google so that it can become available for download through their app store and that Epic is hoping for an exception to the 30 percent revenue policy. He also criticized Google billing methods in the smartphone industry.

“We believe this form of tying of a mandatory payment service with a 30 percent fee is illegal in the case of a distribution platform with over 50 percent market share,” Sweeney said.

Sweeney went on to contrast the Play Store’s methodology to his company’s own Epic Games Store.

“Epic operates a major PC storefront and payment service and we do not force developers using our store to use our payment ecosystem,” Sweeney said.

For over a year now, Android users have had to download Fortnite directly from the Epic Games website. This method of downloading the game may seem to be just a minor inconvenience at first glance, but there are security risks that can arise from this system.

Google reported last year that going through this process allowed a number of third-party applications to commandeer the download and install malicious material onto users’ Android devices.

Epic quickly responded with a patch to Fortnite’s installer that prevented any further nefarious third-party activity. Sweeney complained that Google’s public report of their installer’s security risks was a counter-PR move that was made because of Epic’s decision to distribute Fortnite outside of the Play Store.

Epic is now reaching out to Google despite their muddled history, but the massive tech company isn’t budging. In a public statement, Google said that each of the developers who distribute through the Play Store must abide by its current business model and billing policy.

“We welcome any developer that recognizes the value of Google Play and expect them to participate under the same terms as other developers,” Google said.

About the author
Milo Webb

Freelance journalist who spends his free time desperately trying to hit Plat in League of Legends.