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Epic Claims Google Paid Activision $360 Million to Not Compete; Call of Duty Developer Responds

Epic Games has alleged that Google paid Activision Blizzard approximately $360 million to prevent the company from competing against the Play Store. This is according to court documents about Project Hug obtained by Reuters.

Project Hug or the Apps and Games Velocity Program from Google is the popular tech company’s incentive program for developers to keep their apps on the Play Store instead of finding alternative store fronts like the Epic Games Store. The program was first revealed to be in existence last year during Epic Games’ antitrust suit against Google.

According to the documents, Google has made at least 24 deals with other software developers to keep them from creating an app store that could rival Google’s. Apart from Activision, Google has also signed deals with Riot Games, Nintendo, and Ubisoft. Epic alleges that Google paid the League of Legends developer $30 million to prevent its “in-house ‘app store’ efforts.”

Epic also alleged in 2021 that Google spent millions so that big app developers stay on its Play Store. However, this new information came into light when an unredacted version of the complaint by Epic was made public.

Epic Games’ battle with Google originated from the former’s decision to release Fortnite for Android through its website instead of Google Play around four years ago. It was soon added to the popular Android store, before it was banned by Google. This led to Epic Games filing a lawsuit against the tech giants.

Google called the current lawsuit from Epic Games to be “baseless” and “full of mischaracterisations.”

Activision told the following to Reuters about the allegations: “Google never asked us, pressured us, or made us agree not to compete with Google Play. Epic’s allegations are nonsense.” Activision also disputes the claims that Google knew signing a deal with it would “abandon its plans to launch a competing app store.”

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