Google to tighten Play Store rules around in-app purchases, report says

Fortnite developer Epic Games last month sued Google and Apple over app store rules around in-app purchases.

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Google reportedly plans to update its Play app store guidelines to clarify that most apps on its platform must use the tech giant's billing service for in-app downloads, game upgrades and subscriptions. This system lets Google take a 30% cut of in-app purchases. The update could come as early as next week, according to a report Friday from Bloomberg, which cites anonymous sources with knowledge of the move. 

Though the Play Store requirement related to in-app purchases has existed for years, some major developers have sidestepped the rule, according to Bloomberg. After Google updates its guidelines, the tech giant will reportedly give developers time to update their apps. 

The reported change comes as Google faces a lawsuit from Fortnite developer Epic Games. In August, Fortnite was kicked off both the Apple App Store and the Google Play Store after attempting to bypass the 30% fee the companies charge developers. Epic sued both companies in response. 

Epic's lawsuit against Google accuses the tech giant of abandoning its idealistic roots and says Android's claim that it's an open ecosystem is a "broken promise."

In response to a request for comment, a Google spokesperson said Android is an open platform and allows for multiple app stores. 

"For developers who choose to distribute their apps on Google Play, our policy has always required them to use Play's billing system if they offer in-app purchases of digital goods," said the spokesperson in an emailed statement. "We are always working with our partners to clarify these policies and ensure they are applied equitably and reasonably."