Epic Games is suing Google over the removal of Fortnite from Android's Play Store. This follows on from a lawsuit Epic filed against Apple yesterday after the game was also removed from the iOS App Store.
What does Epic Games' lawsuit entail?
Essentially, the nature of Epic's lawsuit against Google is similar to the one it filed against Apple. According to the Google suit, Epic contends that the Mountain View tech giant "unlawfully acquired and maintains a monopoly in the Android in-app payment processing market". Epic is asking the court to issue an injunction to Google "prohibiting...anti-competitive and unfair conduct" and "awarding any...equitable relief necessary" to remedy damage caused by same.
This all started when Epic introduced a new direct payment system to Fortnite for iOS and Android, as well as discounting content on the PC and console versions of the game. Epic says that Google and Apple take an unreasonable cut of profits made from in-game purchases. It was Epic's intention to bypass what it saw as exorbitant fees. As such, V-Bucks and real-money purchases are permanently discounted on all versions of the games.
However, this appears to have violated both Apple and Google's terms of service for distributing apps on their respective app stores. Google says it can "no longer make [Fortnite] available on Play because it violates our policies". After Apple removed Fortnite from the iOS store, Epic created an ad mocking Apple's iconic 1984 spot intended to lampoon the decision.
In the lawsuit, Epic points out that Google was founded under the corporate motto of "Don't Be Evil", but that this motto has been "relegated...to nearly an afterthought", with Google "using its size to do evil upon competitors" in markets Epic claims the California tech giant is monopolizing. Epic also points out that it struck a deal with phone manufacturer OnePlus to distribute Fortnite via a bespoke Epic Games app. Google blocked said deal, claiming it had a "particular concern" about Epic "bypassing the Google Play Store".
Google has a history of blocking other app store alternatives on its Play Store and setting limits on how studios and publishers can sell content via the Play Store. On Microsoft's upcoming Project xCloud service, for example, if you download the app from the Play Store, you won't be able to buy DLC for games, but you can do so if you download it via the Samsung Galaxy Store. In a statement on this issue, Microsoft says it is "complying with all store policies", some of which don't allow in-app purchases.
What will happen to Fortnite on mobile now?
It's worth noting that you can still download Fortnite direct from Epic on Android devices (iOS users who had in the past downloaded Fortnite can also redownload it). You just won't be able to find it on the main official storefronts. There's absolutely nothing stopping you from downloading the game direct from Epic and continuing to play, and Epic's proprietary payment system can still be found in these versions of the games. We'll bring you more on Epic's lawsuits against both Apple and Google as we get it. Until then, if you haven't played Fortnite on mobile yet, it looks like you'll have to download the game from elsewhere other than the App Store and Play Store.
How do you feel about Epic's lawsuit against Google? Let us know in the comments below!