Google and Epic Games have been going at it in a legal battle for almost 3 years now. To give you a brief rundown, Epic wasn’t too happy about paying a 30% commission to Google on every in-app purchase and setting up their independent payment channel. Google was definitely pissed with Epic’s move and decided to kick the application from their platform, Play Store. Which has led to the legal battle we see today. Interestingly, new documents have revealed that Google initially planned on buying Epic entirely, learn more below.
Google could have bought Epic Games with Tencent
According to transcripts posted by Verge (via Insider Gaming) details about “Project Elektra” have come to light. These documents reveal a conversation between Phil Harrison, Google’s former vice president and general manager, and Dan Sabota, who was the former director of corporate development at Google. They start the conversation by stating a “high-level strategic rationale for an investment in Epic” along with pointers on why it’s a good decision.
The pointers reveal that Fortnite “is or can be the leading business driver for Google” across several of their platforms and businesses such as YouTube, GCP, and Yeti. The conversation then reveals that Google also considered talking to Tencent to either purchase Epic shares from them or partner with them to buy 100% of Epic as a potential alternative. They decided on a number, which was $2 billion for 20% control over Epic.
The documents added that the company “may be open to a second large strategic investor as a counterweight to Tencent.” However, the email also spoke about how Tencent on the other hand “may not be willing to sell shares, or may seek to block another strategic investor.” This is where the conversation of buying Epic died down and no further moves were made by Google to buy shares of the company.
Coming back to the trial, Tim Sweeney, the CEO at Epic Games took to the stand to reveal his views on Google’s control over the Play Store. According to a report by NY Times, Sweeny stated that he wasn’t to “make it clear to everybody exactly what was happening on these platforms”. He wants “everybody to see and understand Google exercises de facto control over the availability of apps on Android.”
Also read: Epic Games Store Is Offering Two New Games This Week for Free Including Earthlock; Upcoming Title Also Revealed
Sweeney added that the company’s goal is to bring more games into the world and Google’s fee is blocking that process. In return, he was put under fire by Google’s lawyer, Jonathan Kravis, who pointed out that Epic had no problem paying the same 30% commission fees to console makers and managed to earn a sum of $12 billion. Furthermore, Kravis also put it out in the open that Epic charges the same prices for in-app purchases for every platform. Kravis also ended up asking Sweeney, “You are putting the money in your pocket, right now?” and the Epic CEO didn’t disagree with this statement.
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