Google has filed a countersuit against Epic Games over Fortnite game app purchases, claiming that the company "willfully breached" its agreement with Play Store developers, ZDNet reports. Epic originally filed the lawsuit against Google in August, shortly after it filed a complaint against Apple and received a counterclaim from it. "Epic has been unjustly enriched at Google's expense," the company said in its countersuit.
Recall that Epic sued Google for removing Fortnite from the Play Store after the "Mega Drop" update enabled players to bypass the in-game purchase system and get discounted items. Google later forced OnePlus to break the deal, which would have resulted in the Fortnite launcher being pre-installed on the OnePlus 8 smartphone, bypassing the Play Store and eliminating Google's commission on in-app purchases.
Google said that unlike Apple's App Store, Android developers are not forced to use Google Play. "They choose it themselves when given a choice between Android app stores and distribution channels," the complaint said. "Google supports this choice through Android itself, Google Play policies, and Google's agreements with developers and device manufacturers."
However, this generally logical argument is complicated by documents disclosed in Epic's original lawsuit against Google. They showed that Google was paying game developers and phone makers such as LG and Motorola for exclusive use of the Play Store instead of offering other store options. This is one of the reasons cited by 38 US states and territories that filed an antitrust lawsuit against Google in the same federal court in California, where Epic also filed its lawsuit.
In 2018, Google reportedly offered Epic up to $208 million for moving Fortnite to the Play Store - effectively cutting its usual 30 percent revenue by about five percent. According to the same court documents, Google was so concerned about the potential loss of revenue from the Play Store that it even considered buying Epic.
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