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Google and Epic clash over Fortnite on the Play Store

Epic is allegedly trying to skip the 30% cut Google gets from in-app purchases, while Google is staying firm with its own rules.

When Epic Games launched Fortnite on Android it bypassed the usual distribution method - the Play Store - to host downloads on its own site, and now Google and Epic have locked horns over bringing the game to the storefront.

Google has released a statement, as shared by 9to5Google, claiming that their business model isn't going to change, and that all developers should accept these terms if they want to use it.

This comes after reports - again from 9to5Google - that Epic didn't want Google to take the 30% cut of in-app purchases in Google's Play Store, and that they were planning to ask for an exemption from this rule to distribute their battle royale game.

"Android enables multiple app stores and choices for developers to distribute apps. Google Play has a business model and billing policy that allow us to invest in our platform and tools to help developers build successful businesses while keeping users safe," a Google spokesperson said. "We welcome any developer that recognizes the value of Google Play and expect them to participate under the same terms as other developers."

Epic has since responded with their own statement, trying to clarifying the matter and where they stand on it:

"Epic doesn't seek a special exception for ourselves; rather we expect to see a general change to smartphone industry practices in this regard."

"We have asked that Google not enforce its publicly stated expectation that products distributed through Google Play use Google's payment service for in-app purchase. We believe this form of tying of a mandatory payment service with a 30% fee is illegal in the case of a distribution platform with over 50% market share."

"We note that Google Play's Developer Distribution Agreement (https://play.google.com/about/developer-distribution-agreement.html) does not require developers use Google payments. It merely references a number of non-contractual documents asking developers to do so."

"Further, Epic operates a major PC storefront and payment service and we do not force developers using our store to use our payment ecosystem."

Google tells The Verge, however, that Epic has not asked for the same terms from Apple, who hosts Fortnite on the App Store, adding that Play Store promotes apps, provides secure hosting, and more, hence why they see the 30% cut as a fair price.

Epic has made a lot of the fact that the Epic Games Store has a 90/10 revenue split with developers, so it's unsurprising to see this mentioned here, and they've also been very critical of Steam's 70/30 split as well.

Will either side back down?

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