Epic sues Google after Fortnite is kicked off the Play Store

(Image credit: Epic GAmes)

Update: And just as it did with Apple, Epic Games has now filed suit against Google. While Epic hasn't (yet) targeted Google with a parody video, the lawsuit does theatrically seize upon a famous marketing slogan from Google's past.

"In 1998, Google was founded as an exciting young company with a unique motto: 'Don’t Be Evil'," the lawsuit states in its opening. "Google’s Code of Conduct explained that this admonishment was about 'how we serve our users' and 'much more than that . . . it’s also about doing the right thing more generally'."

"Twenty-two years later, Google has relegated its motto to nearly an afterthought, and is using its size to do evil upon competitors, innovators, customers, and users in a slew of markets it has grown to monopolize."

As with the lawsuit against Apple, Epic emphasized that it is not seeking money from the lawsuit, or a special deal from Google similar to the one that it alleges currently exists with Activision, and possibly others, that it established "to allow Google to keep its monopolistic behavior publicly unchallenged."

"But Epic is not interested in any side deals that might benefit Epic alone while leaving Google's anti-competitive restraints intact," the suit says. "Instead, Epic is focused on opening up the Android ecosystem for the benefit of all developers and consumers."

"Accordingly, Epic seeks injunctive relief in court. Google’s conduct has caused and continues to cause Epic financial harm, but Epic is not bringing this case to recover these damages; Epic is not seeking any monetary relief, but rather only an order enjoining Google from continuing to impose its anti-competitive conduct on the Android ecosystem."

Epic's lawsuit against Google is available in full from The Verge. We'll keep you posted on updates as they become available.

Original story:

Earlier today, Apple removed Fortnite from the iOS App Store after Epic Games directly challenged its payment processing policies by offering V-Bucks for sale via direct purchase from Epic—at a discount, no less. It made the same offer for the Android version of the game, and as reported by The Verge, it's achieved the same result: Fortnite has also been kicked off the Google Play Store.

Google isn't as restrictive as Apple when it comes to its devices and marketplace, but it does have very clear policies regarding in-app purchases: "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." Google, like Apple, collects 30 percent of apps and in-app purchases made through its storefront.

"The open Android ecosystem lets developers distribute apps through multiple app stores. For game developers who choose to use the Play Store, we have consistent policies that are fair to developers and keep the store safe for users," Google said in a statement.

"While Fortnite remains available on Android, we can no longer make it available on Play because it violates our policies. However, we welcome the opportunity to continue our discussions with Epic and bring Fortnite back to Google Play."

The Google Play takedown isn't the Earth-shaker that the App Store removal is. For one thing, Fortnite has only been available on the Play Store since April anyway; prior to that, it was available to install through the web. Epic wanted an exception to the Play Store's 30 percent fee, but Google refused to budge. Eventually Epic gave in, but only grudgingly—and given today's App Store development, and the legal action Epic subsequently filed against Apple, I have to wonder if part of the reason it capitulated is that it knew this day was coming anyway.

Also notable is that, unlike iOS owners, Android users can still get Fortnite for their devices if they want it. Google allows its devices to access software through third-party marketplaces—that how Epic was able to offer Fortnite on Android without being on the Play Store previously—and so you can still pop around to epicgames.com and grab it directly.

Andy Chalk

Andy has been gaming on PCs from the very beginning, starting as a youngster with text adventures and primitive action games on a cassette-based TRS80. From there he graduated to the glory days of Sierra Online adventures and Microprose sims, ran a local BBS, learned how to build PCs, and developed a longstanding love of RPGs, immersive sims, and shooters. He began writing videogame news in 2007 for The Escapist and somehow managed to avoid getting fired until 2014, when he joined the storied ranks of PC Gamer. He covers all aspects of the industry, from new game announcements and patch notes to legal disputes, Twitch beefs, esports, and Henry Cavill. Lots of Henry Cavill.