The ongoing legal fights between Epic Games, which owns Fortnite, and Google and Apple continue to reveal juicy details about the game’s development. We got a taste of even more turmoil between Epic and Google today (via The Verge).
According to the documents, Google attempted to persuade Epic to stop enabling Android sideloads of Fortnite. First, it made a “special deal” with Epic to bring Fortnite to the Play Store. This arrangement would have likely reduced Google’s 30% app sales fee, which is one of the primary reasons Epic didn’t want Fortnite on the Play Store.
One manager contacted Epic’s Vice President and Co-Founder to gauge Epic’s interest in a special deal and, among other things, discussed “the experience of getting Fortnite on Android” via direct downloading. The manager’s call notes state that she viewed direct downloading Fortnite as “frankly abysmal” and “an awful experience”, and that Epic should “worry that most will not go through the 15+ steps, reads one section of the document.
Ironically, Google’s attempt to prevent Epic from enabling Android sideloads of Fortnite is a major gain for Epic. Epic is attempting to prove in court that the Play Store (and, in a separate case, the Apple App Store) are de facto monopolies. Epic claims that tech giants make it tough for publishers to flourish outside of the Play Store on purpose, even if it is possible. As a result, Google’s attempt to portray sideloading as a bad experience further enhances Epic’s case.
Most interestingly, Epic claims that Google considered buying a portion or all of it at one point. This appears to have been a Google internal debate that never made it to Epic (i.e., mountain view gaint never approached the company with any offers).