Fortnite maker Epic Games has renewed its fight against Google. The North Carolina-based game developer and publisher has filed an amended lawsuit against the internet giant’s Play Store policies, alleging monopolistic behavior. Epic had last year sued Google after the latter removed Fornite from the Play Store for policy violations.
The new complaint comes just a couple of weeks after attorney generals of 36 US states and Washington D.C. filed a similar lawsuit against Google. A judge had formally linked the two cases.
The multi-state lawsuit had alleged that Google tried to quash Samsung’s Galaxy Store as it was “deeply threatened” by the competition. Samsung is the world’s largest smartphone maker and the Galaxy Store comes pre-installed in almost all of its Android devices.
Google apparently disincentivized Android OEMs from pre-installing competing app stores with its revenue share agreements. It even attempted to pay Samsung to “abandon relationships with top developers and scale back competition through the Samsung Galaxy Store.”
Building on that, Epic now alleges that Google tried preventing it from releasing Fortnite on the Galaxy Store. “Google was determined not to let this happen,” the complaint says. It offered a special deal to the company to launch Fortnite on the Play Store. When Epic rejected the offer, Google took to “anti-competitive conduct,” the amended lawsuit suggests.
Google, however, expectedly denied the claims. “While Fortnite remains available on Android, we can no longer make it available on Play because it violates our policies. We will continue to defend ourselves against these meritless claims,” the company said in a statement to The Verge.
Epic Games files an amended lawsuit against Google
It all began in August last year when Epic introduced its own in-game payment system to circumvent the 30 percent commission that Google and Apple charge from developers for in-app purchases on Android and iOS devices respectively. In response, the two giants removed Fortnite from their respective app stores, i.e. Play Store and App Store.
Epic then took the matter to the court, accusing Google and Apple of monopolistic behavior over their distribution of apps and payment processing for in-app purchases. It has now filed an amended complaint against the former. Google has until August 20th to file a motion to dismiss.
The early parts of the Epic v. Google case have been consolidated with the state Play Store lawsuit by a judge. The hearing is set for October 14th. The Epic v. Apple case, meanwhile, already went to trial in May. It now awaits a verdict. It will be interesting to see what comes out of both these cases.