Google filed a countersuit against Epic Games in their antitrust case Monday (Oct. 11) in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California, charging the game developer with breaching its contract with the tech giant, according to a GamesIndustry report Wednesday (Oct. 13).
Google’s countersuit argues Google’s OS is a “critical source of competition against other operating systems,” noting that Android app users aren’t required to use Google Play.
Epic Games, the action notes, initially distributed the Android version of Fortnite on the Samsung Galaxy Store and its own website in 2018, before launching on Google Play in April 2020.
Google’s countersuit also denies many of Epic Games’ allegations in its own lawsuit, including Epic promoting its own payment system, the action that led to Epic’s legal entanglement with both Apple and Google.
“On August 13, 2020, Epic breached the Google Play Developer Distribution Agreement between Epic and Google dated June 12, 2020, by allowing Fortnite users who downloaded the app through Google Play to use Epic’s own payment processing tool instead of Google Play Billing,” the suit reads.
“Google further avers that for Fortnite transactions processed through Epic’s own payment processing tool, Google is paid nothing for its intellectual property or for app distribution,” according to the lawsuit. “Epic has reaped economic benefit from its relationship with Google and all of the services that Google provided to Epic.”
Google says Epic’s contract breach led to it removing Fortnite from the Google Play store last year.
Epic Games’ launch of Fortnite on Google Play was part of Project Liberty, according to Google, and it was part of Epic’s plan to end what it considers an anti-competitive fee from Apple and Google’s app stores. Google says Epic intentionally breached its contract to “draw Google into a legal battle over antitrust.”
Google asked for a jury trial in its countersuit and asks for compensatory and punitive damages, and restitution of Epic’s profits. Epic filed its complaint against Google in August 2020, saying the Google Play store prevents healthy competition.
In September, Apple banned Fortnite from its App Store until the end of its court battle with Epic Games, Inc. The appeals process could take five years, Epic Games Chief Executive Officer Tim Sweeney said at the time.