What you need to know
- A legal filing by Epic Games has revealed that Google formed a "Fortnite Task Force" after the company sidestepped the Play Store.
- The task force apparently met daily in 2018.
- Epic has also claimed that the task force disregarded the security of users and tried to deter developers from launching their apps outside of the Play Store.
Google created a task force after Epic Games launched Fortnite through Samsung's Galaxy Store and its own website in 2018, according to a new legal filing by the game developer (via Bloomberg). Citing internal Google documents, Epic Games has claimed that the task force, which was launched to cope with Fortnite sidestepping the Play Store, met daily in 2018.
The filing also reveals that the task force "latched onto" a potential security issue for users sideloading the game on their phones. Even though Google's App Security policy gives developers 90 days before the vulnerabilities are made public, Epic alleges that Google "rushed to get the word out" within just nine days. Apparently, the idea behind the move was to "deter developers from launching outside of Google Play and maintain Google's monopoly over Android app distribution."
Responding to Epic's claims, a Google spokesperson told Android Central:
Epic released Fortnite on Android with security vulnerabilities that could compromise consumers' data. Safety and security are our top priorities, so of course we took steps to warn our users about this security flaw, in accordance with our App Security policy. We'll continue to fight Epic's claims in court.
Last month, Google countersued Epic Games for "violating its Play Store contact." Google's counter complaint also accused the game developer of denying its service fee under the Developer Distribution Agreement (DDA) for in-game purchases made by users outside of Google Play Billing. Epic has dismissed these claims in its latest filing.
Speaking to the press in Seoul earlier today, Epic Games CEO Tim Sweeney strongly criticized Google's decision to charge fees from developers on in-app purchases through alternate payment systems as "crazy." He also praised South Korea for "leading the fight against monopolistic practices."
South Korea recently passed an amendment to its Telecommunications Business Act, forcing companies like Google and Apple to allow alternative in-app billing systems. To comply with the new law, Google announced earlier this month that it would soon let developers add alternative billing systems for users in South Korea.