Fortnite publisher Epic Games has accused Google of deleting employee chats that it alleges would have served as evidence in the continuing lawsuit between the companies.
In a new filing reported earlier Friday by Luther Lowe, Yelp’s senior vice president of public policy, Epic Games alleges that Google employees used Google Chat to communicate and intentionally let those conversations be wiped after 24 hours, which is the default setting.
“Any administrator of Google Chats — an application developed by Google — could have changed this default setting at any point for all custodians. Google has never claimed otherwise. But Google chose not to change the setting,” the filing read.
Epic Games motioned for a judge to sanction Google and tell the trial jury to assume that these deleted conversations were unfavorable to the company, or at least be made aware that they were deleted. While we’ll never know what was in those chat logs, Epic Games alleges their destruction is suspect enough that jurors should be made aware.
As noted in the filing, Google has alleged its employee chats are “generally non-substantive.”
This is the latest event in a two-year-long lawsuit that started when Epic Games contrived to get Google to remove the mobile version of its spectacularly popular online shooter Fortnite from the Play Store in 2020. Epic took a similar course of action to get Fortnite pulled from the App Store and engage in a parallel lawsuit with Apple, though Apple largely won that case in September 2021.
These legal actions are Epic’s grand endeavor to stop paying both companies a cut of up to 30% of sales from skins, dances and other in-game purchases. While the Apple lawsuit wrapped up last year, the lawsuit against Google is ongoing, with continued developments like Epic alleging the search giant paid off developers to not launch mobile app stores that would compete with the Play Store.
Neither Epic Games nor Google immediately responded to request for comment.