Epic seeks special treatment from Google on Play Store revenue, Google says no
Epic, the developer behind Fortnite, is at odds once again with Google over the Play Store’s payment split to developers. While Epic is asking for special treatment, Google is digging in its heels with a staunch “No.”
When Epic released the Android version of its popular arena shooter, the developer got into a spat with Google over the latter’s revenue share practices with regards to the Play Store. Epic didn’t like the Play Store’s payment split, which saw 30% of all app revenue (including in-app purchases) go to Google for administrative costs and the remaining 70% go to the developer. As a result, Epic launched its own game distribution platform (the Epic Games Store) and released the Android port of Fortnite as a standalone APK that had to be sideloaded.
Epic is apparently entertaining the idea of bringing Fortnite to the Google Play Store. However, the developer is reopening old wounds; Epic reportedly asked Google for a special exemption to the 70/30 split. Epic isn’t calling the request an exemption, though. In a statement to The Verge, the developer said:
Epic doesn’t seek a special exception for ourselves; rather we expect to see a general change to smartphone industry practices in this regard.
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% fee is illegal in the case of a distribution platform with over 50% 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.
Google is standing strong and has publicly refused the request. Citing Fortnite’s success on iOS, which has a similar 70/30 revenue split, Google has flat out denied Epic’s petition. Google told the Verge that the company “welcome[s] any developer that recognizes the value of Google Play and expect[s] them to participate under the same terms as other developers.”
In short, it looks like Fortnite may not be seeing the success Epic had hoped through the company’s sideloading distribution method. The company still thinks it deserves special treatment for reasons they have yet to enumerate, but Google isn’t going to play that game.
What do you think? Are Google’s revenue practices unfair to developers, or is Epic being unreasonable in its request? Let us know in the comments below.