Epic says Google set up a 'Fortnite task force' over Play Store moves

in General Discussion edited November 2021
Google was so concerned that other app developers would follow Epic Games' embrace of side-loading apps separate from the Play Store that it set up a "Fortnite task force" to maintain the status quo, an Epic court filing alleges.

The lawsuit between Epic Games and Google largely centers around Google's store policies and Epic's desires to do things differently with its products. While the argument is similar to the Apple-Epic courtroom battle, a court filing made public on Monday claims Google has been dealing with more issues, due to Android allowing app sideloading.

The filing from Epic reported by the Financial Times claims Google set up an internal task force to try and dissuade "Fortnite" players from downloading the game from sources other than the Play Store. In doing so, Epic says this helped Google secure transaction fees, but simultaneously worked against the idea of Android being an "open" platform.

The ability to sideload apps onto an Android device was more theoretical than in reality, it is alleged, in part due to Google's creation of that task force. The team was created after "Fortnite" became available as a direct download in August 2018, as well as being distributed through the Samsung Galaxy Store.

Google apparently worried that more developers would follow the same path and offer their Android apps away from the Play Store, and that it would lose revenue.

The task force found a vulnerability in the Fortnite installer, which was used to scare users into sticking to the Play Store for downloads and updates, Epic said. Despite Google personnel internally calling "not a critical (or even high) vulnerability," the search company called it "an extremely serious security flaw" in a blog post and conducted a media campaign about it.

An internal email is cited, with Google's head of security for Android characterizing the warnings as "inappropriately dire for many of the kinds of (vulnerabilities) we're seeing from other developers."

In response to the filing, Google insisted the vulnerability 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," Google concluded. The trial is currently scheduled for October 17, 2022.

On Tuesday, Epic Games CEO Tim Sweeney spoke at a conference in South Korea, using the platform to call Google "crazy" over its fees and to attack Apple's App Store policies.

Read on AppleInsider


  • Reply 1 of 5
    I’m pretty tired of hearing about this Fortnite guy who thinks he’s gods gift to the world. Dude, you want the rules to bend to you so you can make more money getting kids addicted to video games. That’s it. That’s your whole play and you’re doing it in a way to make yourself look like the hero. While I as a developer agree that some of Apple’s policies are a bit restrictive, we must also realize that without Apple or Google, these games and their successes would not exist. The App Store and Apple products are popular because of some of these policies. 
  • Reply 2 of 5
    It’s amazing that one self entitled individual could potentially destroy an entire security model. There are literally millions of more choices for the consumer because of this model if one remembers the relatively few programs available during the PC era—maybe thousands. 
  • Reply 3 of 5
    So Epic think's that it's free to use persuasion to get users to use its own store, but Epic thinks that Google isn't free to try to use persuasion to get users to use Google's store.
  • Reply 4 of 5
    Given the levels of deception and intrigue conducted by Epic and Sweeney, any accusations leveled by the company sound entirely ludicrous.

    Of course you're going to need a team to do battle with Sweeny and his team.

    The level of subterfuge and connivance employed by Sweeny and Epic is pretty much unprecedented.
  • Reply 5 of 5
    sflocalsflocal Posts: 6,069member
    knowing that Fortnite is still banned on iOS brings a smile to my face. :)
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