Epic Games sues Google after Fortnite is booted from the Play Store

midian182

Posts: 5,984   +49
Staff member
Recap: In what has become a saga of TV drama-like proportions, Epic Game is now suing Google for kicking Fortnite off the Play Store. The move comes just hours after Apple also booted the battle royale title from its store, resulting in Epic suing Cupertino and premiering a video that parodies Apple’s famous 1984 commercial. All because of Epic’s new in-app purchase system that leaves the tech giants without their cut.

This all began yesterday when an update for both the Android and iOS versions of Fortnite introduced the Epic Direct Payment option. As the name suggests, it allows players to pay Epic directly for in-app purchases, bypassing the 30 percent cut taken by Apple and Google. While selecting this option meant a 20 percent discount for players, the two store owners weren’t happy about it.

Apple was first to act, removing Fortnite from the App Store because of guideline violations that are supposedly there to create a level playing field and keep everyone “safe.” In response, Epic sued the firm, and is seeking injunctive relief to end Apple's "unfair and anti-competitive actions."

The swiftness of this legal action showed the company was expecting such an eventuality. It had also prepared a short animated film that mocks Apple’s famous 1984 commercial, turning the iPhone-maker into the monopolistic Big Brother character.

It didn’t take long for Google to follow suit and remove Fortnite from its store. Google also requires games to use its own payment system for in-app purchases. According to its policy, “Developers offering products within a game downloaded on Google Play or providing access to game content must use Google Play In-app Billing as the method of payment.”

For the second time in a day, Epic responded with a lawsuit. It is suing Google over alleged antitrust violations, claiming that the Play Store’s payment rules constitute a monopoly, and thus a violation of both the Sherman Act and California’s Cartwright Act.

While Epic focused on Apple’s 1984 ad, the Google complaint highlights its “Don’t Be Evil” motto, which was removed from its Code of Conduct two years ago. “Google has relegated its motto to nearly an afterthought,” the complaint reads, “and is using its size to do evil upon competitors, innovators, customers, and users in a slew of markets it has grown to monopolize.”

Unlike iOS, Fortnite remains available on Android via the Epic Games App or the Samsung Galaxy Store on Samsung devices.

It was only last April when Fortnite finally arrived on the Play Store after being available on Android for 18 months. This wasn't something Epic wanted, but the company said Google puts software downloadable outside of Google Play at a disadvantage.

The Google lawsuit also alleges that Epic had reached an agreement with OnePlus to preinstall an Epic Games app on its devices that would allow buyers to seamlessly install Fortnite and other titles, but Google quashed the deal. It was allegedly “particularly concerned that the Epic Games app would have ability to potentially install and update multiple games with a silent install bypassing the Google Play Store.”

“Further, any waiver of Google’s restriction “would be rejected due to the Epic Games app serving as a potential portfolio of games and game updates,”” reads the suit.

Expect this to drag on for a long time.

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Nicromancer

Posts: 12   +5
China Tencent's Epic Games sue Google and Apple for monopoly just like how US complains China and request them to open up their market some months ago. What a joke.
 

derncricket

Posts: 11   +13
I did some work recently at a local pizza place. He said that Google contacted him about being a paid subscriber to google's business listings. They wanted him to pay to have his business at the top of the list etc. When he refused, google went in and messed up his online menu. They added things like a garbage salad, a malibu pizza. They basically added a bunch of things that he did not sell. So that he's constantly getting orders for things not on his menu. So google retaliated against him for not paying them. Sound like the mob to anyone else? He needs to pay for google's protection, otherwise they mess up his business. At least we know Google should not be considered the good guy. If Google doesn't watch it they are gonna end up like Comcast, hated.
 
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kimo1

Posts: 90   +147
I did some work recently at a local pizza place. He said that Google contacted him about being a paid subscriber to google's business listings. They wanted him to pay to have his business at the top of the list etc. When he refused, google went in and messed up his online menu. They added things like a garbage salad, a malibu pizza. They basically added a bunch of things that he did not sell. So that he's constantly getting orders for things not on his menu. So google retaliated against him for not paying them. Sound like the mob to anyone else? He needs to pay for google's protection, otherwise they mess up his business. At least we know Google should not be considered the good guy. If Google doesn't watch it they are gonna end up like Comcast, hated.
If Google really did that, then this should be in the news. But it really sounds like some hacker doing social engineering. Which also should be in the news.
 

m4a4

Posts: 1,937   +1,716
TechSpot Elite
I don't see this one going anywhere. Google at least isn't nearly as strict as Apple.

Google's open Android system lets you have other stores and sideload apps.

With Apple, you can't even allude to another way to pay for a service within your app. As in, if it's cheaper to buy a subscription on your site the user can never know inside the app. You can't even have a "redeem code" feature in the app for similar reasons.
And then the issues with xCloud, Facebook gaming, and Floatplane (to name a few recent ones) show even more problems...
 
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etempest

Posts: 47   +32
China Tencent's Epic Games sue Google and Apple for monopoly just like how US complains China and request them to open up their market some months ago. What a joke.
To be fair, they own 40% of Epic Games, so there not in complete control, but that isn't to say they don't have a voice / influence.
 
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ChickyBoom

Posts: 23   +21
I did some work recently at a local pizza place. He said that Google contacted him about being a paid subscriber to google's business listings. They wanted him to pay to have his business at the top of the list etc. When he refused, google went in and messed up his online menu. They added things like a garbage salad, a malibu pizza. They basically added a bunch of things that he did not sell. So that he's constantly getting orders for things not on his menu. So google retaliated against him for not paying them. Sound like the mob to anyone else? He needs to pay for google's protection, otherwise they mess up his business. At least we know Google should not be considered the good guy. If Google doesn't watch it they are gonna end up like Comcast, hated.
Proof? Probably not. Nice story, though. lol
 

Nobina

Posts: 2,611   +2,231
I did some work recently at a local pizza place. He said that Google contacted him about being a paid subscriber to google's business listings. They wanted him to pay to have his business at the top of the list etc. When he refused, google went in and messed up his online menu. They added things like a garbage salad, a malibu pizza. They basically added a bunch of things that he did not sell. So that he's constantly getting orders for things not on his menu. So google retaliated against him for not paying them. Sound like the mob to anyone else? He needs to pay for google's protection, otherwise they mess up his business. At least we know Google should not be considered the good guy. If Google doesn't watch it they are gonna end up like Comcast, hated.
Sounds like someone pretended to be from Google to get money from him. That's why common sense is needed.
 

GeforcerFX

Posts: 956   +442
So they want apple and google to host the game they allow million of people to download for free then cut both of them out of any monetary gains that are made through the game? Why would google and apple want to pay to distribute the huge amount of data that fortnite would consume and get no money out of it?
 

richcz3

Posts: 35   +19
Imagine every app with its own in game payment system. What could possibly go wrong?

I am not the biggest fan on how Apple and Google conduct themselves, but both companies are providing a platform. The upkeep, maintenance, and monitoring of those platforms have their own costs.
 
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QuantumPhysics

Posts: 3,278   +3,076
Watching Corporations at war with the US government is entertaining. Fortunately: I didn't play Fortnite so this doesn't effect me.
 

Puiu

Posts: 4,009   +2,525
Imagine every app with its own in game payment system. What could possibly go wrong?

I am not the biggest fan on how Apple and Google conduct themselves, but both companies are providing a platform. The upkeep, maintenance, and monitoring of those platforms have their own costs.
It's not like everybody can make a payment system, just the big companies. The majority will use a pre-existing system. PC is a good example.
 

Endymio

Posts: 285   +163
It's not like everybody can make a payment system
Err, why not? After all, every small business in the world today has some form of payment system, else they couldn't operate. Even if their online "system" is no more than accepting a credit card number, and then giving Visa/Mastercard their cut.
 

Puiu

Posts: 4,009   +2,525
Err, why not? After all, every small business in the world today has some form of payment system, else they couldn't operate. Even if their online "system" is no more than accepting a credit card number, and then giving Visa/Mastercard their cut.
What you meant to say is that every small business is using a third party payment system that they integrated. This is what Payment Gateways are for. I've used them in some online shops I made. You either get a premade plugin/module or use their APIs to make something custom.

It's way too expensive to make one from scratch and also takes a lot of time (years to get make available in multiple countries).
 
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Endymio

Posts: 285   +163
What you meant to say is that every small business is...(snip)
No. We were discussing the binary options of playing ball with the Apple/Google model, or doing what Epic is attempting, which is process your own online payments. Epic isn't forcing players to mail in rolls of pennies. They are taking payments via credit card.

This is what Payment Gateways are for... You either get a premade plugin/module or use their APIs. It's way too expensive to make one from scratch
Again, no. First of all, many of those credit card processors which offer merchant accounts are small companies themselves. The software to offer an ETP API is quite simple, even rudimentary. Now admittedly, if a processor wishes to offer a hundred different prebuilt modules for a hundred different platforms, that can be a bit onerous, but the real service those companies offer is not the software itself (which is why nearly all of them offer it for free), but the card processing itself. To process a payment directly, one must essentially become a bank, or, (more commonly) partner with a bank.

Whether you are as small a business as Al's Diner or as large as Epic, it is the legal issues of becoming a bank that dissuades most businesses from processing their own credit card payments, not the trivial amount of coding required to do so online.
 

Ludak021

Posts: 253   +179
So they want apple and google to host the game they allow million of people to download for free then cut both of them out of any monetary gains that are made through the game? Why would google and apple want to pay to distribute the huge amount of data that fortnite would consume and get no money out of it?
For a cut. There is always a cut. Now Epic made it so that there is no cut for Google and Apple but want's to keep using those for distribution and w/e but not pay a cut. So they get booted out and now Epic decides to go bankrupt an sues them.
 

Farkinell

Posts: 26   +12
I did some work recently at a local pizza place. He said that Google contacted him about being a paid subscriber to google's business listings. They wanted him to pay to have his business at the top of the list etc. When he refused, google went in and messed up his online menu. They added things like a garbage salad, a malibu pizza. They basically added a bunch of things that he did not sell. So that he's constantly getting orders for things not on his menu. So google retaliated against him for not paying them. Sound like the mob to anyone else? He needs to pay for google's protection, otherwise they mess up his business. At least we know Google should not be considered the good guy. If Google doesn't watch it they are gonna end up like Comcast, hated.
This doesn’t seem very plausible. Why would Google, a multi multi billion dollar advertising empire care whether a pizza place pays to have priority listings? Not only that but care so much as to ‘retaliate’ by editing their menu items? I’m not sure even the actual mob would bother with such tactics.
 
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Puiu

Posts: 4,009   +2,525
No. We were discussing the binary options of playing ball with the Apple/Google model, or doing what Epic is attempting, which is process your own online payments. Epic isn't forcing players to mail in rolls of pennies. They are taking payments via credit card.

Again, no. First of all, many of those credit card processors which offer merchant accounts are small companies themselves. The software to offer an ETP API is quite simple, even rudimentary. Now admittedly, if a processor wishes to offer a hundred different prebuilt modules for a hundred different platforms, that can be a bit onerous, but the real service those companies offer is not the software itself (which is why nearly all of them offer it for free), but the card processing itself. To process a payment directly, one must essentially become a bank, or, (more commonly) partner with a bank.

Whether you are as small a business as Al's Diner or as large as Epic, it is the legal issues of becoming a bank that dissuades most businesses from processing their own credit card payments, not the trivial amount of coding required to do so online.
You are confusing the software endpoint with the service offered by payment gateways (everything beyond what a client installs on his app/website). At least in regards to what I wrote previously

They don't need to offer modules for all platforms, just the most popular ones. Many have third party made modules/plugins that offer better coverage of the market (in terms of platforms supported without the need of the client to write code). Although, how it is integrated doesn't matter since that's not the problem and is offtopic.

Building a payment gateway is no small task and this is why the majority use a third party. (and yes, the bank stuff is one of the factors as to why few do it)
 
I did some work recently at a local pizza place. He said that Google contacted him about being a paid subscriber to google's business listings. They wanted him to pay to have his business at the top of the list etc. When he refused, google went in and messed up his online menu. They added things like a garbage salad, a malibu pizza. They basically added a bunch of things that he did not sell. So that he's constantly getting orders for things not on his menu. So google retaliated against him for not paying them. Sound like the mob to anyone else? He needs to pay for google's protection, otherwise they mess up his business. At least we know Google should not be considered the good guy. If Google doesn't watch it they are gonna end up like Comcast, hated.
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