The Wall Street Journal: ‘Fortnite’ developer Epic pushes popular game with payment system that would cut out Google

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The creator of “Fortnite” is challenging Google’s policy of taking a cut of payments made for app-related purchases at a time when regulators have started scrutinizing those kind of arrangements between tech companies and their vendors.

Epic Games Inc. is asking Google GOOG, +0.39% GOOGL, +0.32%  to release in its app store a version of “Fortnite” with a built-in payment system that allows the developer to keep all in-game revenue. Google, a unit of Alphabet Inc., currently takes a 30% cut for the kind of in-game purchases players make on games downloaded via its app store.

Epic’s move effectively puts Google in the uncomfortable position of having to either approve the game and forgo a lucrative revenue stream or potentially provide antitrust regulators with evidence it may be unduly pressuring smaller companies.

“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 Chief Executive Tim Sweeney said in a statement. “Epic doesn’t seek a special exception for ourselves; rather we expect to see a general change to smartphone industry practices in this regard.”

“Fortnite” is free to play and sells virtual currency for real money that users can spend on in-game perks such as avatar costumes and dance moves.

An expanded version of this report appears on

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