Epic Games Wants Tax Exception If Fortnite Moves to Play Store; Google Refusing

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Fortnite could soon be available for Android users on the Google Play store – if Google chooses to play ball.

As first reported by 9to5 Google, Epic Games is planning to submit its popular game for the Play store library with the hopes that Google drops its imposed tax on in-game purchases. Google’s policy for game developers sets a 30% revenue tax for lucrative purchases made on free-to-play games, something that Epic Games execs do not agree with.

Fortnite has been available for download on Android since August 2018, although only from the Epic Games website directly. Doing this can be risky, however, since it opens players’ devices up to possible security breaches from hackers.

In a statement made December 8, Google defended its policy toward game creators, inferring that it will not bend to Epic Games’ request to drop the 30% tax.

“Android enables multiple app stores and choices for developers to distribute apps,” the statement reads. “Google Play has a business model and billing policy that allow us to invest in our platform and tools to help developers build successful businesses while keeping users safe. We welcome any developer that recognizes the value of Google Play and expect them to participate under the same terms as other developers.”

Epic Games CEO Tim Sweeny responded in his own statement that his company is not seeking an exception for themselves, instead looking to promote major changes across the smartphone gaming industry.

“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,” Sweeny wrote. “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.”

Epic Games uses its own marketplace on consoles and PCs, allowing players to purchase V-bucks and exchange them for add-ons and other DLC.

This disagreement between Google and Epic Games originally influenced Sweeny’s decision to not launch on the Play store last year, citing the high tax cost and wanting to have a “direct relationship” with customers instead of going through another company’s marketplace.

It should be noted that Fortnite is available on iOS and iPhone via the App Store, which begs the question why Epic Games doesn’t seem to have a problem with Apple as much as it does Google.

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