You may have noticed, that is if you are a gamer, or read somewhere that Fortnite is no longer available on the Google PlayStore or the Apple store. This is because Epic games, the creators of the Fortnite game, updated its Android software in August to allow gamers directly pay Epic games for in-app purchases of digital goods like colorful outfits, weapon upgrades, etc. which evaded Google Play billing, and caused the removal of the game from the Playstore. Epic games responded to this by suing Google.
Apple also removed the game from their store and they are in their own legal battle with Epic games.
The game is still available for Android, just that you would have to download it from a third party app or website, as it is no longer on the Google Playstore, but given that the Apple app store is the only place users can download their apps from, Fortnite cannot be downloaded on Apple phones anymore.
Google already has the existing policy of all developers accepting payments only through the Google billing system, but was a little lax on it, so it was not really enforced. But on Monday, September 28th, 2020, Google said it will enforce rules that require app developers distributing Android software on the Google Play Store to use its in-app payment system. Developers have until 30th September, 2021 to comply with this.
This action means that developers who have had customers pay them directly with a credit card or other forms of payment such as mobile money payments, for digital content will soon have to use Google’s billing system, which takes a 30% fee from payments.
“We want to be sure our policies are clear and up to date so they can be applied consistently and fairly to all developers, and so we have clarified the language in our Payments Policy to be more explicit that all developers selling digital goods in their apps are required to use Google Play’s billing system,” Google said in the announcement, signed by Sameer Samat, a VP of product management.
As you all know, Google is much more flexible than Apple when it comes to app distribution because on Google Android, you can download apps from third parties, and also, there are app-distribution apps found on the Google Playstore, such as Samsung’s Galaxy app store, which allows you to download even more apps.
This move is sure to make app developers lose a little money.
It will interest you to know that Developers including Epic Games, Spotify, and Tinder parent company Match have created a non-profit group to challenge Apple’s App Store practices of monopoly. We wait to see what comes of it.