Share this article

Epic Games Versus Google: High-Stakes Antitrust Trial Kicks Off

By Xueyang
Nov. 7, 2023 updated 12:12

Epic Games Versus Google: High-Stakes Antitrust Trial Kicks OffEpic Games Versus Google: High-Stakes Antitrust Trial Kicks Off

The highly anticipated antitrust trial between Epic Games, the creators of Fortnite, and tech giant Google commences today, marking a new chapter in the ongoing battle over app store policies and developer freedoms. This legal showdown follows Epic's direct challenge to Google's stronghold on in-app purchases and the mandated 30% commission rate.

Back in 2020, Epic Games bypassed Google's payment system within Fortnite by enabling an alternative method for purchasing the in-game currency, V-Bucks, directly from Epic. Google's subsequent removal of Fortnite from the Play Store prompted Epic to file an antitrust lawsuit, claiming Google's practices stifled competition. Google countered with a breach of contract lawsuit.

The crux of Epic's argument is that while Android allows the installation of apps via other means outside the Google Play Store, the platform's dominant position renders alternative distribution channels nonviable. The proceedings will see high-profile testimonies from Google's CEO Sundar Pichai and Epic's CEO Tim Sweeney.

Despite the option for Android users to sideload apps, Epic contends that the Play Store's hegemony is effectively anti-competitive. Google rebuffs the allegations, maintaining the openness of the Android platform allows for multiple distribution avenues.

Parallel to this case, Epic has engaged in a similar legal struggle with Apple. Although Epic managed a solitary win against Apple — pertaining to anti-steering restrictions — the primary judgment favored Apple, a verdict Epic is now contesting in the Supreme Court.

The outcome of this trial could have significant implications not only for Google and Epic but also for the broader app economy and digital marketplaces globally. Epic has not limited its legal actions to the US; it has extended its campaign to the UK and Australia, signifying the global stakes of this dispute.

As day one of the trial unfolds, all eyes will be on the courtroom where decisions could reshape the future interactions between app developers, digital storefronts, and the ecosystems they populate.

Source: Games