Epic Games’ legal spat against Apple may are the headlines of the many tech news within the past, but the Cupertino-based company isn’t the sole recipient of the sport publisher’s complaints. Epic Games also sued Google over alleged monopolistic practices with Fortnite at the middle of it all. In addition, new details have surfaced that reveal the extent to which Google was willing to travel to stay Fortnite from ruining its Play Store ecosystem, including an outright acquisition of Epic Games.
Fortnite could also be one among the foremost popular battle royale games within the market today, but it’s just a fraction of Epic Games’ properties. Epic Games is, of course, one among the most important game developers and publishers within the market, and Google’s plans to shop for a neighborhood or all of it reeks of desperation. That was all internal discussion, though, and Epic Games never knew that possibility until these documents appeared in court.
This was unbeknownst to us at the time, and because of the court’s protective order we’re just finding out now about Google’s consideration of buying Epic to shut down our efforts to compete with Google Play.https://t.co/HSS1edUrQm
— Tim Sweeney (@TimSweeneyEpic) August 6, 2021
Google considered Fortnite and Epic Games‘ plans to permit sideloading the sport on Android as a “contagion” that needed to be stamped out directly. Instead, it reportedly resorted to offering special deals to launch Fortnite exclusive on Play Store, which probably meant waiving or decreasing the 30% tax Google customarily takes from all app and in-app purchases.
Another interesting strategy was to color the sideloading experience as awful and something that took quite 15 steps to accomplish. The latter is an exaggeration, but internal communication revealed that Google knew how this “install friction” would adversely affect Fortnite’s reach, which applies to all or any apps distributed outside the Google Play Store. Interestingly, Google didn’t play on its ecosystem’s security and safety benefits, which could are weightier arguments than the “awful experience” spiel.
Unfortunately for Google, its strategy may need only helped Epic Games make its point. It’s accused the tech giant of using its position to make a monopoly, despite Google’s claims to the contrary. Since the Fortnite drama first came out, Google has made many changes, but none of these adjustments to the Play Store distribution would have benefited Epic Games anyway.