Google denies Epic’s request to exempt Fortnite from a 30% revenue cut on the Play Store
Back in August last year, Epic Games announced that it was finally porting its popular battle royale game Fortnite to Android. However, the developer refused to publish the game on the Google Play Store and distributed it from its website instead. Earlier this year, the company launched its own app store — the Epic Games Store — on Android and in order to attract more developers to their store, the company undercut the Play Store’s revenue model by giving developers 88% of the revenue generated by their apps. However, Epic recently submitted Fortnite to the Play Store and urged Google to provide a special billing exception to circumvent the Play Store’s 30% revenue cut.
As per a recent report from 9to5Google, Epic Games’ CEO Tim Sweeney has revealed that the company’s request for an exception is just a part of its goal to bring about a broader industry-wide change. In a statement to the publication, Sweeney said,” 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 a mandatory payment service with a 30% fee is illegal in this case of a distribution platform with over 50% market share. We note that Google Play’s Developer Distribution Agreement does not require developers use Google payments. It merely references a number of non-contractual documents asking developers to do so.”
In a follow-up statement to The Verge, Google has said that it won’t grant Fortnite an exemption to the Play Store’s 30% revenue cut. The Google spokesperson was quoted saying, “Android enables multiple app stores and choices for developers to distribute apps. Google Play has a business model and billing policy that allows us to invest in our platform and tools to help developers build successful businesses while keeping users safe. We welcome any developer that recognized the value of Google Play and expect them to participate under the same terms as other developers.” The company has further noted that Epic has not asked for an exemption from Apple, where it presumably pays the company’s standard 30% cut. Google has also cited the Play Store’s ability to promote apps and bring more users, provide security and hosting, and tools for technical testing and analytics to justify the 30% cut.