Google Offered Epic Games $147 Million For Fortnite
Many shocking information about the two companies’ connection is emerging from the Epic v. Google antitrust lawsuit, including Google’s proposal for a $147 million deal to debut Fortnite on the Play Store. The search engine behemoth was concerned not just about the money it would lose if the battle royale game was pulled from the store, but also about other developers taking Epic’s cues.
By offering the Android version of Fortnite through an installer that could be downloaded from the company’s website, Epic Games chose to get around Google’s 30% Play Store income cutback in August 2018. Given that Android is an open platform and Google does not distribute or oversee all the content on it, CEO Tim Sweeney called Google’s revenue a “high cost” in the industry.
According to The Verge, the business outlined “the most principled arguments” in a Google document in an attempt to persuade Epic to add Fortnite to its store. These were among them “The install friction is not only a bad experience, but we know from our data that it will drastically limit their reach.” A different article stated: “The [Play] store will still attract billions of users who will search for Fortnite and run into dead ends that aren’t clear how to resolve.”
These arguments appear to have failed, as Google made Epic an offer of $147 million to place Fortnite on the Play Store, to be paid over a three-year period ending in 2021.
That’s a big sum of money, but in the witness box, Lawrence Koh, the former head of Google Play’s game business development, said that the company estimated that removing Fortnite off the store might cost them anywhere from $130 million to $250 million in direct income. The main concern, though, was that other developers, like Blizzard, would take Epic’s lead and start providing direct downloads for their mobile games. A “downstream impact” of between $550 million and $3.6 billion in lost revenue was predicted as a result of this.
Fortnite was reluctantly added to the Play Store by Epic in 2020, eighteen months after the game’s initial release on Android. “Google puts software downloadable outside of Google Play at a disadvantage, through technical and business measures such as scary, repetitive security pop-ups for downloaded and updated software, restrictive manufacturer and carrier agreements and dealings, Google public relations characterizing third-party software sources as malware, and new efforts such as Google Play Protect to outright block software obtained outside the Google Play Store,” Epic said at the time in a statement. “Because of this, we’ve launched Fortnite for Android on the Google Play Store.”
Due to the launch of Epic Direct Payments, Google deleted Fortnite from the Play Store after just five months of availability. This option offered consumers a 20% discount and let them to pay Epic directly for in-app purchases, avoiding Google’s 30% share. Epic filed an antitrust complaint against both Google and Apple as a result of the change.
Located in Cary, North Carolina, Epic Games, Inc. is an American publisher and producer of video games and software. Tim Sweeney established the business in 1991 under the name Potomac Computer Systems, and it was first based at his parents’ Potomac, Maryland, home. After releasing ZZT (1991), the company’s first commercial video game, it changed its name to Epic MegaGames, Inc. in early 1992 and hired Mark Rein, who has served as vice president ever since. The studio rebranded itself as Epic Games after relocating its headquarters to Cary in 1999.
Aside from powering their in-house created video games like Fortnite, Epic Games also develops the Unreal, Gears of War, and Infinity Blade series. Unreal Engine is a game engine that is available for purchase. In 2014, Guinness World Records declared Unreal Engine to be the “most successful videogame engine”.
Seattle, England, Berlin, Yokohama, and Seoul are home to the studios of Epic Games, which also owns the cloud-based software firm Cloudgine, and the game developers Chair Entertainment, Psyonix, Mediatonic, and Seoul. Sweeney continues to be the company’s primary stakeholder, but in 2012, as part of an agreement to shift Epic toward games as a service model, Tencent purchased a 48.4% outstanding holding in Epic or 40% of the entire business. The business received more funding after the well-received Fortnite Battle Royale game was released in 2017. This allowed it to start the Epic Games Store, develop esports competitions centered around Fortnite, and increase the scope of its Unreal Engine services. With an equity worth of US$32 billion as of April 2022, the company is valued.
Epic included a permanent V-bucks discount in the August 13, 2020, version of Fortnite. This offer was valid for users who purchased the game directly from Epic, bypassing Apple and Google’s physical stores, and it was available for all platforms (except iOS and Android smartphones). The game was immediately taken off the market since it included its own shop, which was against Google and Apple’s terms of service. Then, on the same day, Epic filed lawsuits against both companies, claiming that their individual app shops’ practices violated antitrust laws.
2017 saw the introduction of Fortnite, an online video game created by Epic Games. The game engine and overall gameplay are the same, although it comes in three different game mode versions: Up to 100 players compete in the free-to-play battle royale game Fortnite Battle Royale to be the last person standing; Together, up to four players can battle zombie-like monsters in Fortnite: Save the World, a cooperative hybrid tower defense-shooter and survival game, and defend objects with traps and fortifications they can construct. Alternatively, players can create their own worlds and battle arenas in Fortnite Creative.
While Creative was published on December 6, 2018, Save the World and Battle Royale were available as early-access titles in 2017. While Epic Games has enjoyed success with the Save the World and Creative editions, Fortnite Battle Royale in particular became an enormous hit and a cultural phenomenon, attracting over 125 million players in less than a year and bringing in hundreds of millions of dollars per month. Up to December 2019, Fortnite as a whole brought around $9 billion in gross revenue.
While Battle Royale and Creative were made available for all of those platforms, as well as for Android and iOS devices, the Nintendo Switch, PlayStation 4, Windows, and Xbox One, Save the World is only available for those operating systems. Alongside the game’s release, the Xbox Series X/S and PlayStation 5 of the ninth generation were also released.