Google Submits Counterclaims Against Epic Games For In-App Commission Evasion


In the context: In August 2020, Epic Games launched a two-way attack by implementing a direct payment method for Fortnite in-app purchases, bypassing Apple and Google store commissions. As a result of the stunt, the game was removed from the App Store and Google Play, which Epic used as an incentive to file antitrust lawsuits against both tech giants.

On Monday, Google filed a counterclaim against Epic Games. demanding breach of contract. The complaint alleges that introducing an external payment system to avoid paying Play Store fees for in-app purchases was a deliberate violation of Google Play. Developer Distribution Agreement (DDA).

Unlike iOS, developers have several ways to distribute apps to users. However, when they decide to sell their apps through Google Play, they agree to pay a 30 percent commission on in-app purchases.

Google claims Epic violated this agreement when it released an update that added a non-platform payment method. He also adds that he continues to violate this clause given that many users purchased Fortnite through the Play Store and are still using an alternative payment system. Google claims to be entitled to a portion of these sales.


“Google has not disabled Epic’s developer account and indicated that Epic may publish a new, compatible version of Fortnite,” the counterclaim states. “Users who downloaded an incompatible version of Fortnite before it was removed from Google Play can still use Epic’s corrected external payment mechanism to make in-app purchases, allowing Epic to evade Google’s contractually agreed fees for those purchases.”

The lawsuit puts Epic in a tough spot. The only way to fix the situation is to release a Fortnite patch that removes the external payment system. However, users are unlikely to download the update if they can still get lower prices using an alternative method. As such, Epic will also have to temporarily shut down its payment platform in order to encourage players to update the game.

In addition, a year has passed since it all began. While the dollar value of the damage is not listed in Google’s docs, 30 percent of Fortnite’s annual income from Android users is likely a substantial one-time payment.

The likelihood that Google will win the counterclaim seems high given that Apple has filed a similar lawsuit and received more than $ 3.6 million. This figure does not seem significant, but it is based only on the revenue ($ 12,167,719) generated between August 2020 and October 2020. If she wins, Google’s reward could be seven times that or more.

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