It would seem that Epic is not having a good time. Then again, I could be totally wrong and they could be enjoying the hell out of this. That said, following on the heels of Apple’s appeal of the court ruling requiring them to make changes to the App Store comes news that Google has decided to counter-sue Epic. The reason? They claim Epic breached their Play Store contract.
According to the complaint, when Epic submitted a version of Fortnite containing a payment method not tied to Google Play, they “willfully breached the terms” of their contract. This breach allows Android users with the Fortnite app to access the game’s payment system despite the game having been removed from the store and, as a result, allowed Epic to avoid paying a service fee to Google as agreed upon by their contract.
Interestingly, the real issue here doesn’t seem to be that an alternate way to pay is available, but rather that it was put into the Play Store version. Android users are often allowed to install apps from outside the store, so this likely wouldn’t be any different, but it is generally more difficult to go about installing non-Play Store apps. So, effectively, the crux of the issue is that Epic was benefiting from their players having the convenience of being able to download from the store without paying for it.
According to a report on ZDNet, Google is looking to be compensated for the amount of money it has lost from Epic’s addition of the external payment system to the Play Store version of the app. Of course, with everything else in the Epic/Apple/Google lawsuit queue, it will probably take a while for a ruling to be made, so we’ll just have to wait and see who, if anyone, wins this one.