Last year in August, Epic Games initiated a two-pronged attack on Apple and Google when the company implemented a direct payment method for Fortnite’s in-app purchases, skirting the Apple’s and Google’s store commissions.
However, this stunt didn’t sit well with the two tech giants as the game got removed from the App Store and Google Play, which Epic used as the impetus for filing antitrust lawsuits against both tech giants.
This Monday, Google filed a countersuit against Epic Games in which the tech giant claimed of breach of contract. According to the complaint, by introducing an external payment system to avoid paying Play Store commissions on in-app purchases, Epic Games made a willful breach of the Google Play Developer Distribution Agreement (DDA).
Unlike in iOS, Android developers have more than one way to distribute apps to users, but, when it comes to selling their apps through Google Play, they agree to pay the 30% commission on in-app purchases.
In this countersuit, Google claims that Epic violated this agreement when it submitted an update that brought the off-platform payment method to Fortnite. Google further stated that Epic continued the violation of the clause, considering that many users purchased Fortnite through the Play Store and are still using the alternative payment system.
“Google did not disable Epic’s developer account and indicated that Epic could publish a new, compliant version of Fortnite. The users that downloaded the non-compliant version of Fortnite before its removal from Google Play are still able to use Epic’s hotfixed external payment mechanism to make in-app purchases—allowing Epic to evade its contractually agreed service fee to Google for those purchases.”
The likelihood of Google winning its counterclaim seems high considering that Apple has also filed a similar lawsuit against Apple for which the Cupertino-based tech giant got awarded more than $3.6 million. However, if Google wins, the award which the search engine giant will take home will be seven times that amount or more.