Earlier in the day, Apple and Google banned Fortnite from their respective app stores. The ban happened on account of Epic Games violating the guidelines of respective app stores. Since then, Epic Games has filed lawsuits against these giants for exercising an unfair monopoly over app distribution. In its complaint, it also mentions Google preventing a deal between Epic and OnePlus for similar reasons.
In its statement, Epic Games says it wanted to enter a deal with OnePlus for pre-installing the Fortnite launcher. As part of the deal, all OnePlus phones around the globe would ship with the Fortnite launcher pre-installed. This would allow buyers to directly install the game without involving the Play Store. However, Google intervened and asked OnePlus to back off from the deal.
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Epic says that Google “forced OnePlus to renege on the deal.” It also mentioned that Google “demanded that OnePlus not implement its agreement with Epic with the limited exception of mobile devices sold in India.” This clause was introduced due to Epic Games bypassing the Google Play for making in-app purchases.
Without Google’s interventions, Epic Games would have negotiated with phone manufacturers to make its launcher apps directly on their phones. This would allow users to get access to Fortnite with reduced in-game item prices. Epic wouldn’t have to pay the 30 per cent commission on all in-app purchases, thereby passing on benefits to players.
OnePlus not alone as LG also forced to back out
OnePlus isn’t the only OEM mentioned in the controversy. Epic says it was working on a deal with LG to preload the Epic Games app on its phones. LG, however, stated it had a contract with Google “to block side downloading off Google Play Store this year.” LG could offer access to Epic Games if it were available on the Play Store.
Epic games eventually gave-in to Google’s demands and launched Fortnite on the Google Play Store earlier this year. This allowed almost all compatible Android phones to download Fortnite by staying within the limits of the Play Store. Epic had to share 30 per cent of the cost of every purchase with Google.
Until today when Epic decided to introduce its own payment system bypassing the 30 per cent commission for in-game items. The update was rolled out to both iOS and Android platforms. Apple and Google viewed this move as flouting the store guidelines, eventually pulling down the Fortnite app from the stores.