Google confirmed to the court that Epic had received an agreement worth US$147 million to put its popular game “Fortnite” on the Google Play Store.
Purnima Kochikar, vice president of partnerships at Google Play, said the deal was approved and submitted to Epic, but not accepted.
Image source Pexels
Epic will receive the money in phases under the three-year “incremental funding” plan, which runs through 2021. The agreement is designed to prevent popular apps from bypassing Google’s cut.
In fact, Epic made the Android version of Fortnite available directly through its official website in 2018, bypassing the Play Store and eliminating the need to pay Google the Play Store commission. In an antitrust lawsuit filed later in 2020, Epic said the decision briefly sent Google into panic.
Citing internal documents, it said Google was concerned that this approach could have “contagion risks,” meaning other game developers (including Blizzard, Valve, Sony, and Nintendo) would follow Epic’s lead.
Epic also claims that Google tried to prevent this from happening by offering special benefits or even acquiring Epic.
Lawrence Koh, the departed head of Google Play games business development, testified in court on Tuesday that these “contagious” documents were submitted to the court.
Google believes that almost all leading game developers are considering withdrawing from the Play Store after seeing Epic’s move, which may cause Google to lose billions of dollars in revenue.
Court documents predict that if “Fortnite” leads to a subsequent large-scale “evacuation”, it may cause Google to suffer a direct revenue loss of 130 to 250 million US dollars. There may also be indirect losses of up to US$3.6 billion.
Google said it was just concerned about the loss of games on the Play Store and had no malicious intent. “We just want developers to choose Play,” Koh said. “We think getting games on the service is a worthwhile investment.”
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