The news arrived after Google lifted some of its redactions in the documents used during the case. Epic’s antitrust case was filed around a year ago, following Google’s removal of Fortnite from the Google Play store following a dispute over payment methods.
The Google documents, originally reported by The Verge, allegedly showed that the tech giant had considered outright buying Epic. Google’s plans to buy Epic remain a secret, but Epic described the plans: “Google has gone so far as to share its monopoly profits with business partners to secure their agreement to fence out competition, has developed a series of internal projects to address the ‘contagion’ it perceived from efforts by Epic and others to offer consumers and developers competitive alternatives, and has even contemplated buying some or all of Epic to squelch this threat.”
Epic CEO Tim Sweeney shared his thoughts on the supposed plans earlier this week (August 6), stating that neither him nor his team had any knowledge of Google’s intentions. “Whether this would have been a negotiation to buy Epic or some sort of hostile takeover attempt is unclear.” adds Sweeney in a further tweet.
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 also allegedly offered Epic a special deal to launch Fortnite on the Google Play store, offering the option of allowing users to directly download the game. Sideloading on Android has been described as a “frankly abysmal” experience by a manager describing the experience to Epic. Users would have to go through over 15 steps to download Fortnite through the Android’s side-loading feature.
At the time of writing, Fortnite is still not available on the Google App store. This is because Fortnite has its own in-game store front through which it sells V-Bucks. The use of an in-game storefront denies platform holders, like Google and Apple, the ability to take a cut of the game’s sales. This is why both platform holders removed the game from their digital storefronts.
Epic alleges that Google and Apple have too much power in the marketplace, stating that both businesses monopolise the mobile gaming space by forcing developers to go through their respective storefronts.
In other news, a cancelled Power Rangers title named ‘Project Nomad’ would have provided an open-world co-op game for players to explore.