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Lawsuit claims Google paid Activision $360m to stop it building a rival app store
Update: Activision Blizzard says the claims made in Epic’s lawsuit are false
Google has reportedly spent hundreds of millions of dollars to prevent other companies from opening rival app stores.
According to a newly unredacted copy of a lawsuit that Fortnite maker Epic Games first filed against Google in 2020, the company paid Activision Blizzard about $360 million over three years, Reuters reported.
Google also agreed to pay Tencent-owned League of Legends studio Riot Games about $30 million over one year.
Activision Blizzard’s EVP of corporate affairs, Lulu Cheng Meservey, says the claims made in Epic’s lawsuit are false.
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The lawsuit, which accuses Google of anti-competitive restrictions on mobile device marketplaces, also names Nintendo and Ubisoft in a list of 24 companies allegedly compensated in a bid to deter competition to its Play Store.
The deals with developers reportedly included payments for posting to YouTube and credits toward Google ads and cloud services.
Google said these deals to keep developers satisfied reflect healthy competition, Reuters reported.
Microsoft recently outlined plans to create a “next generation game store” to compete with Apple and Google, aided by its proposed $68.7 billion acquisition of Activision Blizzard.
The lawsuit also claimed Google considered launching a bid to acquire Epic Games in order to snuff out competition from the Fortnite maker.
It said Google discussed teaming up with Tencent, which owns a 40% stake in Epic, to gain a measure of control over the company or to potentially plan a hostile takeover.
Epic has claimed Google was threatened by its decision to distribute Fortnite for Android outside of the Play Store, a move which circumvented platform holder fees with a new direct payment option and resulted in Google removing the game from its platform.
Epic is currently appealing the result of a similar antitrust lawsuit against Apple. Last year, the judge in the case ruled against the Fortnite maker in nine of the 10 counts it had brought against the iPhone firm.