Just mere hours after Apple removed Fortnite from the App Store, apparently Google followed suit. Fortnite is now no longer available through Android’s Play Store; although you can still play and download it through Epic or third-party sites. In response, Epic Games decided to sue both technological giants in California court. Citing first-party monopolies on each platform as the main problem.
In the lawsuit opening paragraphs, Epic complained about how Google was first founded in 1998 on the belief of ‘Don’t Be Evil’ but now they have “unlawfully” maintains monopolies and denying consumers “the freedom to enjoy their mobile devices.” Epic pointed a similar issue with their Apple lawsuit document, saying the case concerns Apple’s “anti-competitive” and “monopolistic practices” in software distributions and digital payments within iOS.
Google responded that they are simply executing their own store policy fairly, quoting The Verge,
“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. 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.”
Although Epic might seem to have a “stronger” case against Apple (even if by publishing Fortnite they’ve agreed to App Store’s Terms of Service and now purposely broke it), the circumstances are quite different against Google.
First of all, unlike iOS’ closed environment, you can easily install third-party programs on Android without using Play Store in the first place. Second, third-party storefronts such as Samsung Galaxy Store do exist. And back in 2018, Epic even made their own Fortnite launcher for Android. So while obviously Google has an absolute monopoly on how Play Store runs its business, not so much about apps distribution on Android.
On the other hand, in their document, Epic claimed they were planning to have Fortnite be preinstalled on OnePlus and LG phones. But the agreement with both companies were restricted by Google. It’s said that OnePlus had to limit the preinstallation of Epic Games’ mobile app exclusive to India. While LG said that they already had a contract to block “side downloading”, but could make Fortnite available as long as it’s downloaded using Play Store.
This is definitely going to be one long battle for each party involved. Do you think Fortnite will stay gone in App Store and Play Store for a long time? Or Epic will give in faster than their oppositions? Share your thoughts in the comments below.