Google paid millions of dollars to Activision Blizzard and Riot Games to stop their intentions to launch their own Android app stores and prevent other developers from releasing games on stores that offer an alternative to the Play Store. This is according to court documents filed by Epic Games. Bloomberg.
Epic Games has been fighting a bitter court battle with Google and Apple for years, accusing the tech giants of anti-competitive practices. According to the game developer, in January 2020, Google agreed to pay Activision $360 million over three years – the publisher began discussing the idea of launching its own application store. But as a result of negotiations with Google, Activision has reportedly agreed to release its games first on the Play Store and then on other sites.
In March 2020, Google inked a similar $30 million deal with Riot Games, the developer of the hit game League of Legends, which is part of Tencent Holding, according to documents filed by Epic Games. As it turns out, Riot was also considering the possibility of launching its own app store, but those plans were later abandoned.
Google and Activision Blizzard categorically rejected this version of events. A Google spokesperson confirmed the deal is indeed done, but it doesn’t bar the game developer from launching its own app store — we’re talking about the Project Hug program, which aims to keep top developers on the Play Store and them encourage re-prioritization of content on the site. At Activision, the statements are made by representatives of Epic Games “Nonsense”, stressing that Google has never asked or pressured any developer to drop the idea of launching a competing app store. The company secured its position with appropriate testimonies and submitted documents.