After months of speculation, we finally learned that Epic Games will sue Google for removing Fortnite from the Play Store. Fornite is no longer available at Google Play Store, Android users can still download and install the application from other stores or from its official site without any problems.
Why will Epic Games sue Google?
But why? Epic Games made this move because it refuses to pay 30% of the commission that Apple and Google take for each purchase that the users make in any application from their stores. (either as payment prior to downloading, as a subscription or as payment within the application itself)
For Epic Games -and practically for most developers- removing the integration of Fornite’s customer payments in the Android and iOS applications was an intolerable abuse. This way those apps failed to comply with the conditions of both stores in the process, which is why they were removed from the stores. And so the lawsuits began.
Fortnite was removed from Google Play Store
The first and most significant lawsuit, still in progress, was against Apple. Apple even threatened Epic Games with eradicating all support for the Unreal Engine, but the courts placed limits on the aspirations of both companies: neither Apple could act against a tool used by third parties, nor could Epic Games ignore the conditions of the App Store.
Epic Games’ legal confrontation now extends to Google under the same reasoning, which the developer expands by claiming “a dominant position in the Android app distribution market”, has unfairly restricted “competition from alternative app stores and other channels for the distribution of apps.” However, Epic Games’ claim is the same: that Fornite will return to the Play Store without submitting to the conditions of the Play Store.
The interesting thing about the case is that the demand is being made in the United Kingdom under the Competition Act 1998 and Article 101 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union. Google is trying to prevent the case from going forward by claiming that as a foreign company based outside the United Kingdom, the lawsuit should be filed in its home country, i.e., the United States. The company has also issued the following statement:
“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. 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.”