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Epic's fight against Google over Fortnite involves India, OnePlus, and LG

Epic Games, the developer of PUBG Mobile-like game Fortnite, has filed a lawsuit against Google in the US.

twitter-logoShubham Verma | August 14, 2020 | Updated 11:37 IST
Fortnite logo. (Source: Reuters)

Highlights

  • Epic Games has sued Google for blocking its deal with OnePlus.
  • The deal could have allowed Epic Games to offer a store app on OnePlus smartphones.
  • Google is said to have blocked a similar deal Epic Games tried to forge with LG.

Fortnite developer Epic Games is going out on a limb to fight the longstanding policies by Apple and Google that demand a big cut in any purchase made through their app stores. The high-voltage drama between the three companies began with Epic Games' unprecedented move of erecting its own payment system within the Fortnite game, which bypasses those of Google and Apple inside their app stores. After both companies took the note of the open dare by Epic Games, they both pulled Fortnite from Google Play Store and App Store, respectively. An infuriated (and expecting) Epic Games is suing both Apple and Google but this entire feud somehow dragged two more companies, OnePlus and LG, and India.

In its lawsuit against Google especially, Epic Games is making a big reveal that Google blocked a deal between Epic Games and OnePlus that would have allowed latter's smartphones to come preloaded with an Epic Games Store app, which would manage the downloading and installing of apps such as Fortnite -- bypassing the entire installation process via Google Play Store outside of India. This would have also meant the OnePlus smartphones could run the exclusive 90fps mode on Fortnite until Epic Games released it for other Android smartphones via Play Store. Epic Games has mentioned that Google forced OnePlus into going back on its deal with Epic Games.

"OnePlus informed Epic that Google was "particularly concerned that the Epic Games app would have ability to potentially install and update multiple games with a silent install bypassing the Google Play Store." -- Epic Games mentioned in its lawsuit on how Google reneged the OnePlus deal. A similar kind of coercion was done to LG, Epic Games has substantiated, by Google that prevented the brand from partnering with the Fortnite developer on some exclusive features. Although the details of the alleged LG deal have not been provided by Epic Games vividly.

Epic Games is also saying that some exception was made by Google for OnePlus smartphones sold in India but not outside of it. While the allegations are yet to be taken up in the court, Epic Games might be telling the truth here. In one of the early OxygenOS Beta 14 builds for OnePlus 7 Pro, XDA Developers' Mishaal Rehman found the Epic Games app and its instances, hinting at a possible deal between the two companies. But the Epic Games Store app never made it to the final build, possibly because Google struck off the deal. Epic Games, then, ended up partnering OnePlus for the advertising campaign to promote the 90fps mode on the OnePlus 8 smartphones.

The fight has kicked off at a fraught time for both Apple and Google, as their CEOs are being grilled in the antitrust sessions in the US over their monopolistic behaviour in the market. Apple is under the scanner for its App Store policies that multiple game developers and app makers have decried.

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