Google once offered Epic Games $147 Million to bring Fortnite to the Play Store

Google was concerned about losing games from its Play Store, which would result in a major revenue downturn for the tech giant

Back in 2018, Google was reportedly so worried about the likes of Epic Games bypassing the Play Store that it offered the video game and software developer and publisher a $147 million USD (roughly $202 million CAD) deal to bring Fortnite to the Play Store.

The 2018 deal was reportedly proposed but never accepted by Epic.

For those unaware, in 2018, Epic hosted the APK to Fortnite directly on its website, skipping the Google Play store entirely. Back then, a study by Sensor Tower suggested this decision would result in Google losing out on approximately $50 million USD (roughly $69 million CAD) over the course of the next year.

If the deal had gone through, Epic would have got a three-year period of “incremental funding” to launch Fortnite and other titles on the Google Play Store. The deal was part of Google’s efforts to prevent a “contagion” of apps that could bypass its store and its 15 to 30 percent cut from in-app purchases.

Epic, however, decided to launch Fortnite on Android through its own website, allowing it to sell its in-game currency, V-Bucks, directly to players, without the middleman, Google in this case, taking its cut.

Epic Games did launch Fortnite directly on the Google Play Store in April 2020. However, the game was removed from the Play Store in August 2020, after Epic Games introduced direct payments that bypassed Google’s cut of in-app purchases. This sparked a legal dispute between Epic Games and Google, which is still ongoing.

Documents from the trial suggest that Google was concerned about losing games from its Play Store, which would result in a major loss of revenue for the tech giant. Google feared that if Epic and other game developers (such as Blizzard, Valve, Sony, and Nintendo) left its store, it could lose billions of dollars in the long run.

Google’s vice president of Play partnerships, Purnima Kochikar, said that the Epic deal was meant to incentivize game makers to choose Google Play over other platforms. “We just wanted developers to choose Play,” said Kochikar during her testimony.

Epic, on the other hand, argued that Google’s deal was a sign of its anticompetitive behavior and its fear of losing control over Android. Epic’s lawyer said Google was trying to “buy off” Epic and prevent it from challenging its dominance.

The Epic Games vs. Google trial is expected to last for several weeks.

Via: The Verge