Fortnite is one of the most popular video games in the world, but you can’t find it on the official Android app store, Google Play Store. Why? Because Epic Games, the studio that developed it, refused to accept Google’s conditions, which demanded a 30% commission for every in-game purchase, including the purchase of V-Bucks, Fortnite‘s in-game currency.
Instead, Epic Games decided to distribute Fortnite on its own, through its store, the Epic Games Store, and other alternative mobile app stores like Samsung’s or Huawei’s.
However, Google didn’t sit idle. According to a recent court document accessed by The Verge, the company offered Epic Games a whopping 147 million dollars to launch Fortnite on the Play Store.
Purnima Kochikar, Google Play’s Vice President of Partnerships, stated that the agreement was approved and presented to Epic Games. This would have involved incremental payments of this amount over three years, until 2021. In this way, Google aimed to prevent a potential “contagion” effect where other gaming companies might follow Epic Games’ lead and remove their games from the Play Store.
However, Epic Games rejected Google’s offer and chose to maintain its independence. The company argued that the 30% commission Google charged was abusive and anti-competitive, harming both developers and consumers.
Furthermore, Epic Games accused Google of interfering with its agreements with other device manufacturers, such as OnePlus, to prevent Fortnite from being installed by default on their phones.
This dispute between Epic Games and Google eventually landed in the courts, where both parties sued each other for violating antitrust laws. The trial began on November 8th and is expected to last several weeks.