Epic Games files competition lawsuit against Google in the UK over Fortnite’s ejection from Play Store

Epic Games intends to file a competition lawsuit against Google in the UK as part of the ongoing Fortnite-kicked-off-platforms saga, according to documents lodged with the Competition Appeal Tribunal.The lawsuit will allege that Google, holder of “a dominant position in the Android app distribution market”, has unfairly restricted “competition from alternative app stores and other channels for the distribution of apps” [PDF].The legal action the games dev is taking in the UK is similar to a US lawsuit it filed against Apple, which ejected Epic from its App Store in a commercial spat about cult game Fortnite.The dispute is over exclusivity and how much of a cut Google takes from in-game microtransactions in Fortnite. As we reported back in 2018, Epic launched the Android version of Fortnite through its own website rather than the Google Play Store, the official app repository for Android. This initially deprived Google of its 30 per cent cut of Android app sale prices, though the app was later released through the Play Store.At the time, Epic chief exec Tim Sweeney had a good old spleen-venting session about the “economics of the store ecosystem as it exists right now”.In August 2020, Epic introduced what its Competition Appeal Tribunal (CAT) claim described as “a direct payment option into the Fortnite app on the Google Play Store. This enabled consumers to pay Epic directly for in-app content instead of using Google’s payment processor.” Google responded by ejecting Fortnite from the Play Store altogether.Epic is set to allege that Google is “using its market position to charge unfair prices for the distribution of apps via the Google Play Store and/or in relation to the purchase of digital in-app content within those apps,” breaking section 18 of the Competition Act 1998 and Article 101 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union.

Source: Epic Games files competition lawsuit against Google in the UK over Fortnite’s ejection from Play Store • The Register

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