Google has been sued by Epic Games over allegations of anti-competitive behaviour. Google is said to have blocked OnePlus from pre-installing the Epic Games app on its phones outside of India, which was part of a global deal struck between Epic and OnePlus. The lawsuit filed by Epic Games comes after the developer pushed a server-side update for Fortnite that allowed players to purchase in-game currency at a cheaper price than the Google Play store, which resulted in the removal of the game from Google's store.
On Thursday, August 13, Epic Games filed a lawsuit against Google stating that the search giant is “using its size to do evil upon competitors, innovators, customers, and users in a slew of markets it has grown to monopolise.” Google removed Epic Games' Fortnite game - which features the popular battle royale mode - from the Play store after it got a server-side update allowing players to purchase the in-game currency, V-bucks, from the Epic Games Store for a cheaper price than what was offered by the Play store itself. Not just this, Epic Games also stated in the filing that the Google blocked OnePlus from pre-installing the Epic Games app on its phones outside of India.
According to the filing, “OnePlus mobile device users in India can install Epic games seamlessly without using the Google Play store, while users outside India cannot.” The reason for this, as mentioned in the filing, was that Google was concerned about Epic Games having the ability to potentially install and update multiple games with a silent install that would bypass the Google Play store. Therefore, offering cheaper in-game currency from the Epic Games Store violates Google's guidelines regarding apps having to use Google Play In-app Billing.
Additionally, the lawsuit points out that OnePlus is not the only OEM to be persuaded by Google. LG had a contract with Google to block side-loading apps i.e., not using the Google Play store, which prevented LG from pre-installing the Epic Games app on its devices.
Google is not the only tech giant that has been sued by Epic Games. It just filed a similar lawsuit against Apple after it also removed Fortnite from its App Store for violating in-app payment guidelines.
Epic notes that it does not seek monetary compensation from the court and does not want a side deal or favourable treatment from Google for itself.
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