Google created a task force to deter Android users from downloading the popular game Fortnite outside of its Play Store, Epic Games alleged in a court filing made public on Monday.
The move helped Google lock in fees from the game but contradicted the idea of Android being an “open” platform, according to the legal filing from Epic, which makes Fortnite.
Epic has sued Google and Apple and accused them of operating monopolies by levying 30 per cent fees on in-app purchases. Epic lost on most counts against Apple, but won its claim seeking the right for developers to give users other payment options. Both parties have appealed.
The case against Google, however, is more complex, as Android app developers are not compelled to distribute their apps via the Play Store, whereas Apple’s App Store is the only place where its users can download apps.
Epic argued in the court filing that the ability for users to “side load” apps from third-party stores, or directly from the web, is more theoretical than real.
When Fortnite — the world’s most popular game — launched a direct-download capability in August 2018, and offered distribution through Samsung’s Galaxy Store, Google feared the trend could spread more widely and launched a campaign to figure out how to discourage users from turning to options outside the Play Store, according to the unredacted court filings.
Read more about the Apple-Epic duel here.