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Google forced OnePlus to decimate a Fortnite launcher deal, Epic Games claims

Epic Games sued Google for the pull Fortnite from the Google Play Store Thursday night, after a similar lawsuit against Apple.

We might have expected that. What we weren’t expecting: Epic claims Google forced phone maker OnePlus to break deal that would have had a special Fortnite launcher pre-installed on OnePlus phones – and demanded that another Android phone maker, LG, give up any plans to do the same.

With OnePlus, Epic alleges that Google “forced OnePlus to rescind the deal” after Google expressed “concerns” about Epic’s ability to bypass the Play Store. Epic also claims that the original deal between Epic and OnePlus would have made the launcher available worldwide, but Google “demanded that OnePlus not fulfill its agreement with Epic with the limited exception of mobile devices sold in India.”

Epic also claims that Google “prevented LG from preinstalling the Epic Games app on LG devices” because – in LG’s words apparently – LG had a contract “to block downloading from the side of Google Play Store this year” .

Without Google blocking these kinds of deals, Epic argues, the studio could and would negotiate with OEMs Fortnite and other Epic games available directly to consumers without Google’s anti-competitive restrictions. Instead, after apparently scuttling these deals, Epic relented and ended releasing Fortnite in the Play Store in April. (It ended up working with OnePlus on another Fortnite feature.)

But today Google kicked it Fortnite from the Play Store for violating store policies after Epic implemented a new payment mechanism that allowed players to pay Epic directly for in-game currency. (It still offered the option to pay through Google’s payment mechanism, but at a higher price.) Epic’s complaint against Google alleges that the company is violating California’s Sherman Act and Cartwright Act by having a monopoly on the payment systems in the Play Store.

Apple has started Fortnite out of the App Store store on Thursday for similar reasons to Google, and soon after, Epic sued the iPhone maker and charged similar complaints as against Google. Epic also parodied Apple’s iconic ‘1984’ ad.