Epic turned down an epic offer from Google to get Fortnite on the Play Store

Playing Fortnite on GeForce Now on a Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra
(Image credit: Nicholas Sutrich / Android Central)

What you need to know

  • As stated in court, Google once offered Epic Games $147 million to launch Fortnite on the Play Store out of fear more developers would leave alongside the company.
  • Google deemed it the "contagion effect" and estimated it could lose anywhere from $130 and $250 million without Fornite and maybe $3.6 billion if others followed.
  • Google has seemingly stood beside this decision but Epic Games is using this as additional fuel to its argument against its harmful practices.

We're three days into the Google vs Epic Games antitrust court case and information has to come to light regarding the fears of the former.

According to The Verge, Purnima Kochikar, Google's vice president of Play partnerships, confirmed in court that the company attempted to pay Epic $147 million for the launch of Fortnite on the Play Store. As stated by Kochikar, the deal was that Google would pay that amount over a three-year period (from 2018 to 2021), but Epic declined.

This was all a part of Google's plans to stem a "contagion effect" it feared would happen if top game developers were to part ways with its mobile store.

Lawrence Koh, the former head of Google Play’s games business development elaborated further by saying that if other game developers followed Epic in defecting from the Play Store, it could cost them "billions of dollars" in revenue. Documents put forth in court shed even more light as Google's fearful projections estimated it could lose anywhere from $130 and $250 million due to the absence of Fortnite.

Additionally, if other developers such as Blizzard or Sony left, that could grow to about $3.6 billion.

Google seemingly composed itself and stood firm beside this decision with Kochikar stating, "We just wanted developers to choose Play." An idea to offer up money as an incentive "was the investment we thought was worth all the dollars." Other than money, Google was afraid those developers could've just launched their apps on Apple's store first, instead.

This new deal coming to light reminds us of a report of unsealed court documents that vaguely seemed like Google once attempted to buy Epic Games to avoid the controversy altogether. At the time, Epic's CEO Tim Sweeney stated, "Whether this would have been a negotiation to buy Epic or some sort of hostile takeover attempt is unclear." But the heart of the matter was Google had "gone too far."

With the way things are progressing in court, Epic is looking to use these documents as further proof of Google's harmful stronghold via the Play Store. This is something Epic Games has continuously made the centerpiece of why it removed Fortnite from the Play Store in the first place. The "control" over developers through such an imposing 30% fee is far too much in its eyes.

After opting to distribute its own game in its own way to avoid Google's exorbitant developer fees, the company brought down the hammer of severe "disadvantages" that could scare everyday users away from Epic Games and Fortnite.

Nickolas Diaz
News Writer

Nickolas is always excited about tech and getting his hands on it. Writing for him can vary from delivering the latest tech story to scribbling in his journal. When Nickolas isn't hitting a story, he's often grinding away at a game or chilling with a book in his hand.