Google's $147 million gambit: The Fortnite deal that could have changed it all
During the Google vs Epic trial, it was revealed that Google offered Epic Games $147 million to bring Fortnite to the Play Store in 2018, aiming to secure a lasting partnership.
In a surprising revelation during the Google vs Epic trial, it came to light that Google had extended a generous offer of $147 million to Epic Games in 2018 to bring Fortnite onto the Play Store. This proposed deal, greenlit by Google's VP of Play Partnerships, aimed to secure the popular game's presence on the platform and avert potential challenges arising from alternative distribution methods.
Google's $147 Million Bid
Fortnite initially made its way to Android in 2018 through direct installations and Samsung's Galaxy app store, garnering immediate success. However, the unconventional sideloading method of installation posed significant issues. Google's solution to this predicament was a multimillion-dollar deal, details of which have surfaced amidst the ongoing legal battle between Google and Epic Games.
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Purnima Kochikar, Google's VP of Play Partnerships, confirmed the proposed deal's approval by Google, highlighting the company's proactive stance in trying to keep Fortnite within the Play Store ecosystem. The $147 million offer was structured to be disbursed incrementally over three years, concluding in 2021, signaling Google's commitment to a long-term partnership.
As reported by The Verge, the motivation behind this unprecedented offer was Google's concern about a potential "contagion" effect, where top game developers might choose to distribute their apps independently, bypassing the Play Store and causing significant revenue losses for the tech giant. The fear was that Fortnite's departure might set a precedent, encouraging other developers to follow suit.
Interestingly, Epic Games opted not to accept Google's lucrative proposal, ultimately leading to Fortnite's sideloaded debut on Android. The consequences of this decision unfolded in 2020 when, after a brief stint in the Play Store, Epic Games introduced direct payments, prompting Google (and Apple) to remove the game. This move triggered a swift legal response from Epic, setting off a legal battle with both tech giants.
As the trial continues to unfold, the revelation of Google's substantial offer adds a new layer to the intricate relationship between major game developers and app store platforms, shedding light on the lengths Google was willing to go to secure Fortnite's place in the Play Store.
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