Epic says Google paid developers, device makers to maintain its monopoly

According to new unredacted documents revealed as part of the ongoing Epic Games v. Google lawsuit, the Fortnite-maker alleged that Google paid top video game developers and phone manufacturers to maintain its Play Store monopoly and prevent a $1.1 billion loss in annual profit. 

In 2018, the American video game company launched Fortnite’s Android version through its website and on Samsung’s Galaxy Store first, but not on Google’s Play Store which cuts a 30% fee from developers and doesn’t let them use alternative payment systems. 

In case you don’t know, Epic’s popular battle royale title was removed from the Play Store and also Apple’s App Store last year after introducing its own payment system and this is the main reason for the ongoing lawsuits between the developer and the tech giants.

After Epic launched its game on the Galaxy Store bypassing the Play Store, Google was worried that other game developers would follow the same approach which it estimated at that time that could result in a $6 billion loss in Play Store revenue and $1.1 billion in profit in 2022 alone, according to the lawsuit. 

In order to prevent it, Google allegedly paid OEMS and top game developers large sums of money to maintain its monopoly and keep users on its app marketplace. 

According to the documents, Google launched its ‘’Premier Device Program’’ in 2019 to pay OEMS for Play Store ‘exclusivity’ and limit them from installing other app stores.

For these ‘exclusivity’ commitments, Google allegedly offered manufacturers financial incentives including monthly bonuses and 4% of Google’s search revenues from their devices in addition to the 8% they already receive. It also paid some OEMS such as LG and Motorola 3% to 6% of the Play Store revenue earned on their devices. 

In addition, as part of ‘’Project Hug’’ program, the tech giant also paid more than 20 top developers to ensure that they keep their games on the Play Store and many of them accepted the offer by December 2020, according to the documents.

You can find the full document below.

Epic v. Google First Amende… by Nick Statt

Written by Jordan Bevan

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