Fortnite maker Epic Games had filed a case against Apple and Google back in 2020 over Fortnite‘s removal from the App Store and Google Play Store. It also alleged anti-competitive practices in the app marketplace from the tech giants. While the case against Apple was recently concluded with the court ruling in favor of Apple earlier this year, Epic Games is now trying with Google.
The video game company has filed a lawsuit alleging that Google’s mobile app store constitutes an illegal monopoly over apps and in-app payment processing. If Epic Games wins this case, it would change how Android users get apps and make in-app purchases, and more favorable terms for developers.
Epic Games vs Google: Same Lawsuit, Different Company
The lawsuit against Google is similar to that of Apple and targets Google’s App marketplace, Play Store on Android devices. Epic Games has alleged that Google has an illegal app monopoly as it drives up app prices and requires app developers to take customer payments through Google which gives the company a cut of the revenue.
A 10-person jury in San Francisco federal court will hear the case against Google before U.S. District Judge James Donato beginning Monday and will last until before Christmas. Google executive and Alphabet CEO, Sundar Pichai along with Andy Rubin will also testify in the court on the matter. Epic Games CEO Tim Sweeney will also give his testimony.
It is also important to know that Epic Games is going solo to the court against Google as Match Group, the company behind Tinder and Hinge backed out as a plaintiff last month. Google agreed to the Match Group that its users will be able to make in-app payments via other payment methods.
Epic Games CEO Tim Sweeney took to X/Twitter to reveal this saying:
Match and Google have settled their dispute. Epic will go to trial against Google alone. We reject Google’s so-called “user choice billing”, in which Google controls, surveils, and taxes transactions between users and developers.
Several state attorneys general and individual consumers were also plaintiffs in the case other than the Match Group but they dropped out after Google reached settlements with 52 state attorneys general and other consumers, removing the plaintiffs and leaving Epic Games alone.
Google has rejected the allegations by Epic Games and said that Google Play faces severe competition from the Apple App Store and it requiring a revenue cut from apps that are distributed through Google Play is a legal business practice. Wilson White, VP of Government Affairs & Public Policy stated:
The most relevant thing for us is showcasing to the jury how Android has created more choice, flexibility, and openness than any other platform, and that Epic has actually availed itself of that level of choice and flexibility. As a result, these needless claims that they’ve brought should fail.
This court fight goes back to 2020 when Epic Games updated the Fortnite app, allowing players to purchase in-game items via its payment processing system, bypassing Google and Apple’s app store fees. This resulted in Apple and Google removing Fortnite from their respective platforms.
Therefore, Epic filed lawsuits against both tech giants and while the case against Apple proceeded, the Epic v Google case is beginning today. For those unaware, Epic Games generates most of its revenue by selling in-game items in Fortnite through its virtual currency called V-Bucks.
Before Epic updated its app, whenever users purchased anything via the official app stores, Epic had to give a cut of the revenue to Google and Apple. The federal court will now determine whether Google has a monopoly over as alleged by Epic Games or not and this could decide how users and developers use Google Play Store.