According to the lawsuit filed by Epic Games, the game developer claims that Google blocked OnePlus and LG from installing or distributing the Epic Games app and storefront on its devices.
For those completely out of the loop, Epic has sued both Apple and Google over what it is calling “anti-competitive” behavior. While there may be some merits to this claim, the idea that Google would block the Epic Games storefront from coming pre-installed on OnePlus and LG devices is a little harder to wrap our heads around.
Until officially coming to the Google Play Store — and subsequently being ejected — you needed to sideload the Epic Games launcher to install Fortnite on your device. Samsung Galaxy owners can still grab the game from the separately run Galaxy Store. However, in this lawsuit, Epic Games claims that after reaching an agreement to partner with OnePlus and pre-install their app on new devices, Google stepped in to prevent it (via Android Police).
Epic recently reached an agreement with OnePlus, an OEM, to allow users of OnePlus mobile devices to seamlessly install Fortnite and other Epic games by touching an Epic Games app on their devices—without encountering any obstacles imposed by the Android OS. In conjunction with this agreement, Epic designed a version of Fortnite for certain OnePlus devices that delivers a state-of-the-art framerate (the frequency at which consecutive images appear on the device’s screen), providing an even better gameplay experience for Fortnite players.
Although the original agreement between Epic and OnePlus contemplated making this installation method available worldwide, Google demanded that OnePlus not implement its agreement with Epic with the limited exception of mobile devices sold in India. OnePlus informed Epic that Google was “particularly concerned that the Epic Games app would have ability to potentially install and update multiple games with a silent install bypassing the Google Play Store”.
Further, any waiver of Google’s restriction “would be rejected due to the Epic Games app serving as a potential portfolio of games and game updates”. As a result, OnePlus mobile device users in India can install Epic games seamlessly without using the Google Play Store, while users outside India cannot.
You may remember that this partnership has led to other benefits for OnePlus owners. If you have a OnePlus device, you can play Fortnite at true 90Hz. That might be a remnant of the original deal but it’s unclear just how or why Google would block such a move when other OEMs will bundle Facebook, Instagram, and other services into their own devices.
We guess we’ll just have to wait for Google’s official response but it’s interesting to see just how Epic Games is fighting back against two of the biggest players in tech.
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