Google confirmed in court that Epic Games was offered a $147 million deal to launch its popular game Fortnite on Android’s Google Play store. The deal, a three-year agreement for “incremental funding,” intended to prevent popular apps from bypassing Android’s official store to avoid Google’s in-app purchase fees. Epic rejected the offer but later relented, but in an antitrust lawsuit, it claims that its initial decision caused Google to become alarmed.
Documents related to the case revealed that Google feared losing top game developers as a “contagion risk” after Epic’s decision, projecting potential direct revenue loss between $130 and $250 million, then a broader downstream loss of up to $3.6 billion. Google’s position is that its concerns about losing games on Play were not nefarious but merely an attempt to encourage developers to choose the service, particularly when those developers might have chosen to launch on Apple’s iOS first.
Epic is using these documents to argue that Google feared competition for Android app distribution and has maintained its Play store as an unlawful monopoly. Although the deal does not prove this, it provides an interesting window into how Google views its games business. It is a pivotal point in an ongoing antitrust lawsuit between the two companies.