Emails: Epic wanted to emulate Fortnite on Android to get around store fees

What you need to know

  • Epic and Apple’s court case started this week and is ongoing.
  • In recently released emails, Epic Games CEO Tim Sweeney reached out to NVIDIA about avoiding Google/iOS App Store fees.
  • The company entertained the idea of potentially streaming an emulated version of Fortnite onto Android devices.

As the court battle between Epic and Apple continues, more information regarding Epic and its efforts to distance itself from having to pay out App Store fees are coming to light.

Throughout the case, emails, and other evidence has been submitted to the court. The latest set of emails shows Epic Games CEO Tim Sweeney inquiring about the possibility of the company partnering with NVIDIA to emulate Fortnite on Android on their GeForce Now program in order to avoid having to pay the 30% fee that the Google Play Store chargers.

In an email sent to NVIDIA (and released by IGN’s Julia Alexander), Sweeney first broached the subject of avoiding Google and/or iOS paywalls by asking if Google has ever approached NVIDIA about having to pay a 30% tax as a condition of distributing their content. Sweeney noted that if the company was successful in avoiding any fees, that he would love to participate in GeForce Now marketing.

In a response back to Sweeney from NVIDIA, the company outlined two different ways for Epic to achieve having Fortnite run on GeForce Now in a mobile capacity. The first was by running the PC version of Fortnite on GeForce Now servers, but with players streaming it via WebRTC protocol to Safari on an iPhone. This would eliminate the need for downloading the game from the App Store, and require a mobile bluetooth gamepad to play.

When it comes to Android devices, NVIDIA also suggested that Fortnite’s Mobile version could be run on an Android emulator and then streamed to GeForce Now to an Android Phone using touchpad inputs. This would allow players to play Fortnite on their phones without an external gamepad while still allowing Epic to avoid having to use the Google Play Store.

Ultimately, this partnership never came to be, but it is very surprising to see just how strongly Epic felt about avoiding the fees that both Google and Apple charge. As Epic continues to plead its case in court, more information should ultimately come to light as well, so consider this battle far from over.


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