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Google told Epic not to allow Fortnite sideloading, said sideloading is 'awful'

It's not a good look when Google tries to keep games on the Play Store by saying how bad it is to not be on the Play Store.
By
August 6, 2021
TL;DR
  • New court documents reveal Google’s attempts to stop Fortnite for Android from not landing on the Play Store.
  • Apparently, Google called sideloading an “awful” and “abysmal” experience.
  • Google also allegedly floated the idea of buying some or part of Epic Games.

The ongoing court battles between Epic Games — which owns Fortnite — and Google and Apple keep giving us juicy tidbits of behind-the-scenes info. Today, we got a glimpse of even more drama between Epic and Google (via The Verge).

According to the documents, Google tried to dissuade Epic from allowing sideloads of Fortnite for Android. First, it offered Epic a “special deal” to bring Fortnite to the Google Play Store. Presumably, this deal would have cut down Google’s 30% commission on app sales, which is the main reason Epic didn’t want Fortnite on the Play Store.

See also: Here’s how to install Fortnite for Android and iOS

Google also allegedly tried to paint sideloading as an “awful” and “abysmal” experience for users. A Google representative said that its takes “15+ steps” to sideload an app (sideloading is when you install an Android app outside of the Play Store).

Ironically, Google trying to dissuade Epic from allowing sideloads of Fortnite for Android is a huge boon to Epic’s case. Epic is trying to argue in court that the Play Store (and, in a different suit, the Apple App Store) is a de facto monopoly. Epic argues that Google purposefully makes it difficult for publishers to succeed outside the Play Store, even if it is possible to do. As such, Google trying to paint sideloading as a poor experience only bolster’s Epic’s argument.

Most interestingly, though, Epic alleges that Google once thought about buying part or all of Epic. This appears to have been an internal discussion inside Google that never made it to Epic (i.e., Google never approached the company with any offers).

Who knows what other new info we’ll glean from these ongoing court cases before they are through.