Google recently revealed in court documents that it offered video game developer Epic Games a massive $147 million deal in an attempt to convince the company to launch its hugely popular game Fortnite on the Google Play Store. The tech giant was desperate to prevent Fortnite from being released independently and bypassing Google's app store fees.
However, despite the enormous financial incentives, Epic Games rejected Google's proposal. This revelation highlights Google's growing anxiety over major app developers circumventing the Play Store, resulting in loss of billions in revenue for the search giant.
In 2018, Epic Games stunned Google by releasing Fortnite directly through its website rather than the Play Store. This bold move allowed Epic to avoid paying Google's 30% commission on all in-app purchases.
Internal Google documents show the company panicked, fearing other major developers would follow suit. One document outlined a potential $550 million revenue loss if more apps left the Play Store.
To prevent this “contagion,” Google presented Epic Games with a $147 million offer to launch on the Play Store. The 3-year deal was approved at the highest levels.
But Epic turned down the cash, likely to uphold its independent launcher and payment system. Google's lavish proposal only highlights its iron-fisted grip on the Android app market.
Epic later sued Google for antitrust violations, claiming the huge offer demonstrated Google's anti-competitive practices and unrelenting need to control app distribution.
Google maintains it simply wants developers to choose the Play Store willingly. But leaked internal communications reveal an urgent focus on locking in top apps like Fortnite at any cost.
While the outcome remains uncertain, Google's massive rejected payout illustrates its slippery stronghold over the Android ecosystem. Epic's refusal to take the bait was a daring gamble that may have huge implications on app freedom and fair competition.