Caught up in a battle to “cement” a monopoly on its own Play Store app store, Google allegedly “bribed” Activision Blizzard Inc, one of the biggest developers of mobile games, with more than $360 million over the past three years, thus obtaining a guarantee that the game developer would not compete directly with it. Another $30 million would end up in the accounts of Riot Games, a division of China’s Tencent Holdings Ltd.
According to the investigation cited by Reuters journalists, Google allegedly negotiated similar deals with 24 other mobile game and app developers, buying their “loyalty” to the Play Store as the sole platform for distributing those apps.
The financial details of this deal emerged in an unpublished copy of a lawsuit that “Fortnite” video game maker Epic Games first filed against Google in 2020, in which Google allegedly negotiated the $360 million deal after Activision representatives informed it of the preparation of its own app store. Thus, not only would Google have lost one of its most profitable customers, but it would have become a formidable competitor. According to the allegations made by Epic Games, Google has also engaged in other anti-competitive practices related to the Play Store business.
As for the “dissent” cases, Google unhesitatingly banned Fortnite, a popular game, after its developer included a link in the app directing users to its own e-payment platform, in violation of the rules for Play Store contributors.