Google's $147 Million Offer to Epic for Fortnite on Play Store

by Mayniaga

Google recently confirmed in court that it extended a $147 million deal to encourage Epic Games to release its popular title, Fortnite, on the Google Play store for Android.

The primary goal was to prevent a potential "contagion" effect, where other popular apps might sidestep the official Android store and, consequently, evade Google's substantial in-app purchase fees.

However, they reversed this decision in 2020, citing various challenges, including intrusive security pop-ups.

Epic had initially chosen to bypass the Google Play store when launching Fortnite on Android in 2018, a move that allowed them to sell V-Bucks (the in-game currency) without incurring the Play Store's required commissions.

The lawsuit pointed to internal documents suggesting that Google was worried about a "contagion risk" if other game developers, such as Blizzard, Valve, Sony, and Nintendo, followed Epic's lead.

In a subsequent antitrust lawsuit filed later that year, which is currently under discussion in court, Epic alleged that its initial decision had triggered panic at Google.

These documents revealed Google's concerns that nearly all major game developers could abandon the Play Store within a couple of years of Epic's decision, potentially resulting in a loss of billions in revenue for Google.

During the recent court proceedings, the "contagion" documents were referenced when Lawrence Koh, the former head of Google Play's games business development, provided testimony.

They simply wanted developers to choose their platform, particularly when Apple's iOS was a viable alternative.

Google's position maintains that its primary concern was preventing the loss of games from the Play Store, asserting that there was nothing nefarious about this intent.

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