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Google refuses to budge on Play Store fees after Epic asks for  Fortnite  exemption

Google refuses to budge on Play Store fees after Epic asks for Fortnite exemption

December 10, 2019 | By Chris Kerr

Google has dismissed the notion it would allow Epic Games to launch Fortnite on the Play Store without paying the standard fees.

Epic chose to bypass the Google Play Store when it launched Fortnite on Android last year, instead asking players to download the game directly from its website so it could avoid paying what company founder Tim Sweeney called a "disproportionate" store tax. 

A recent report from 9to5Google (since confirmed by Epic), however, suggested the company is about to turn heel and make Fortnite available through the popular Android marketplace -- but only if Google agrees to let Epic use its own payment platform so it can pocket 100 percent of in-app purchase revenue. 

Google has now quashed that notion, and says that it expects every single developer on the Google Play platform to "participate under the same terms."

"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," said the company..

"We welcome any developer that recognizes the value of Google Play and expect them to participate under the same terms as other developers."

Sweeney, however, claims Epic isn’t seeking "special exception" for itself, but rather wants Google to rethink how it treats Play Store developers given it has a mammoth market share on Android -- pointing to the fact Epic Game Store devs can now choose their own purchase and payment services.

"Epic doesn’t seek a special exception for ourselves; rather we expect to see a general change to smartphone industry practices in this regard," said Sweeney. "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 percent fee is illegal in the case of a distribution platform with over 50 percent 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.

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

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