Google has confirmed in court that Epic was offered a $147 million deal to launch its hit game Fortnite on Android's Google Play Store. From a report: The deal, which Google's VP of Play partnerships, Purnima Kochikar, says was approved and presented to Epic but not accepted, would have seen the money dispensed over a three-year period of "incremental funding" (ending in 2021) to the games publisher. It was meant to stem a potential "contagion" of popular apps bypassing Android's official store and, with it, Google's lucrative in-app purchase fees.
Epic launched Fortnite on Android in 2018 directly through its website, avoiding the Play Store. That allowed it to sell Fortnite's in-game currency, V-Bucks, without paying the commission required of Play Store apps. It relented in 2020, saying that "scary, repetitive security pop-ups" and other factors had put it at a severe disadvantage. But in an antitrust lawsuit filed later that year -- and currently being argued before a jury -- it alleged its initial decision had thrown Google into a panic. It cited internal documents claiming Google feared a "contagion risk" if other game developers (including Blizzard, Valve, Sony, and Nintendo) followed Epic's lead, and it claimed Google attempted to forestall it by offering special benefits or even buying Epic.
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