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Saturday, February 24, 2024
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Law

Google’s Plan to Take Over Epic Games

phone_with_fortnite_on_screen
Google, Epic Games/Design: Alex Brooks

The plot thickens for Epic Games v. Google.

Epic sued Google in August 2020 for removing “Fortnite” from Google Play after Epic circumvented Google’s in-app billing requirements. Google takes a 30% cut of revenue from apps launched in the Play Store. 

A fully unredacted version of Epic’s complaint was released on Thursday, revealing the lengths Google went to stop other developers from leaving Google Play. The tech giant estimated it was at risk of losing as much as $6 billion by 2022 if there was an exodus of developers.

  • Under the initiative “Project Hug,” Google reportedly paid out hundreds of millions of dollars to game developers, incentivizing them to keep games on the Play Store rather than follow Epic’s lead.
  • Google’s “Premier Device Program” also paid phone makers not to preinstall other app stores.

Google even considered acquiring Epic to neutralize the threat.

According to the unredacted complaint, a senior Google executive proposed buying shares from Tencent — which owns 40% of Epic — to “get more control over Epic,” or teaming up with Tencent to buy 100% of Epic.

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