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Fortnite maker Epic wins antitrust lawsuit against Google

Chris Kerr, News Editor

December 12, 2023

2 Min Read
A character shredding a rail in Fortnite
Image via Epic Games

Epic Games has won the antitrust lawsuit it filed against Google after a jury determined the Google Play marketplace is an illegal monopoly.

The decision represents a huge victory for the Fortnite maker, with a jury deciding that Google currently holds a monopoly over Android app and game distribution.

As reported by The Washington Post, the decision could have ramifications for other tech companies operating digital storefronts and platforms.

The judge presiding over the case will explain how Google needs to alter its business practices to comply with the law in January.

Epic's lawsuit against Google (and Apple)

Epic had sued both Apple and Google after the pair removed Fortnite from their platforms for violating their rules. A federal appeals court subsequently found that Apple didn't break antitrust laws, but Epic's lawsuit against Google was heard by a jury—and they were less sympathetic.

The trial took around four weeks and the jury also found that Google had been setting up special deals with some companies to prevent them establishing competing app stores.

"Victory over Google! After four weeks of detailed court testimony, the California jury found against the Google Play monopoly on all counts," said Epic Games boss Tim Sweeney on X, formerly Twitter. "Thanks for everyone’s support and faith! Free Fortnite!"

Google VP of government affairs and public policy, Wilson White, said the company intends to challenge the verdict and claimed that "Android and Google Play provide more choice and openness than any other major mobile platform."

Epic filed the lawsuit against Google back in 2020 and argued the company's anticompetitive behavior was preventing Google Play from living up to its promise of an "open" ecosystem. 

"If not for Google’s anti-competitive behavior, the Android ecosystem could live up to Google’s promise of open competition, providing Android users and developers with competing app stores that offer more innovation, significantly lower prices and a choice of payment processors,” read the lawsuit.

Although Google allows developers to host their own storefronts on Android and download external launchers, Epic argued the company still successfully stifled competition by leveraging a "myriad [of] contractual and technical barriers."

Epic has now managed to convince a jury those arguments hold weight, and that verdict could substantially alter how major platform holders like Google, Apple, and others conduct business with third parties moving forward.

About the Author(s)

Chris Kerr

News Editor, GameDeveloper.com

Game Developer news editor Chris Kerr is an award-winning journalist and reporter with over a decade of experience in the game industry. His byline has appeared in notable print and digital publications including Edge, Stuff, Wireframe, International Business Times, and PocketGamer.biz. Throughout his career, Chris has covered major industry events including GDC, PAX Australia, Gamescom, Paris Games Week, and Develop Brighton. He has featured on the judging panel at The Develop Star Awards on multiple occasions and appeared on BBC Radio 5 Live to discuss breaking news.

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