In context: In August 2020, Epic Games launched a two-pronged attack when it implemented a direct payment method for Fortnite in-app purchases, bypassing commissions from Apple and Google’s stores. The coup had the game removed from the App Store and Google Play, which Epic used as an impetus to file antitrust lawsuits against the two tech giants.
On Monday, Google filed a counter-suit against Epic Games, citing breach of contract. The complaint alleges that the introduction of an external payment system to avoid paying Play Store commissions on in-app purchases was a willful violation of the Google Play Developer Distributor Agreement (DDA).
Unlike iOS, there are several ways for developers to distribute apps to users. However, when they choose to sell their apps through Google Play, they agree to pay the 30% commission on in-app purchases.
Google claims that Epic violated this agreement when it submitted an update that added the off-platform payment method. He further adds that he continues to violate this clause, given that many users have purchased Fortnite through the Play Store and are still using the alternative payment system. Google claims to be entitled to a portion of these sales.
“Google has not deactivated Epic’s developer account and has indicated that Epic may release a new compliant version of Fortnite,” argues the counter-suit. “Users who downloaded the non-compliant version of Fortnite before it was removed from Google Play can still use Epic’s patched external payment mechanism to make in-app purchases, allowing Epic to contractually evade its service fees. agreed with Google for these purchases. “
The lawsuit puts Epic in a difficult position. The only way to fix the situation is to release a Fortnite patch that removes the external payment system. However, users are not likely to download the update when they can still get lower prices using the alternate method. Epic will therefore also have to temporarily remove its payment platform to encourage players to update the game.
Plus, it’s been a year since it all started. While Google’s docs don’t list the dollar value of the damage, 30% of Fortnite’s annual revenue from Android users is likely a substantial lump sum.
The likelihood of Google winning its counterclaim seems high given that Apple filed a similar lawsuit and got more than $ 3.6 million. This figure doesn’t seem significant, but it’s based only on revenue ($ 12,167,719) received between August 2020 and October 2020. If he wins, Google’s price could be seven times that amount or more.
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