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Epic Games: Google Accused Of Paying Competitors Not To Open a Game Store

As part of the lawsuit against Google, Epic claims it has evidence that Google is paying its competitors to refrain from opening their own app stores. Millions are said to have been paid over the years – that would of course be a huge scandal.

This is reported by the Reuters news agency. According to the report, Google is said to have paid Activision Blizzard around $360 million to prevent the ailing publisher from competing directly with the Google Play Store.

The deal was one of at least 24 similar agreements signed by the search engine giant as part of its “Project Hug” initiative, according to court documents obtained by the news outlet.

The financial details of Project Hug – later also known as the Apps and Games Velocity Program – are at the center of the ongoing antitrust case between Epic Games and Google.

New details coming out

In 2021, Epic claimed Google spent millions of dollars on incentives to keep major app developers on the Play Store. A new, unabridged version of Epic’s lawsuit was released this week, containing previously unknown details about the scope of this initiative. According to court documents, Google has also struck deals with Nintendo, Ubisoft, and Riot Games. In the case of Riot, Google paid about $30 million to prevent the League of Legends studio from pursuing its own “internal ‘App Store’ effort,” according to Epic.

The lawsuit also alleges that Google knew that the deal with Activision would cause the publisher to abandon its plans for a competing app store” – a claim Activision denies. “Google never asked us, pressured us, or forced us not to compete with Google Play,” an Activision spokesperson told Reuters. “Epic’s claims are nonsense.” Google accused Epic of intentionally “misrepresenting” the intent of the Apps and Games Velocity Program.

“Programs like Project Hug incentivize developers to give Google Play users benefits and early access when they release new or updated content; it doesn’t prevent developers from creating competing app stores, as Epic falsely claims,” ​​according to a Google -Speaker.

“Indeed, the program is proof that Google Play is in fair competition with numerous competitors for developers who have a range of opportunities to distribute their apps and digital content.”