Court Docs Allege Google Weighed Buyout Of Epic Games During Heated Legal Clash

google v epic court filings declassified
Late last month, Epic Games submitted an amended complaint against Google, which ended up being heavily redacted. However, it appears that Google has lifted some of the redactions, giving us a better insight into the arguments at hand, though much has still been left out.

In the filing, submitted on August 5th, Epic claims that Google felt threatened by any app store other than Google Play. It was written that “Google has deliberately changed its course of conduct, erecting contractual and technological barriers that foreclose competing ways of distributing apps to Android users.” One such example of this is when Epic struck a deal with OEM OnePlus to make its games available through an Epic Games app.

However, “Google forced OnePlus to renege on the deal, citing Google’s ‘particular concern’ about Epic having the ability to install and update mobile games while ‘bypassing the Google Play Store’.” This concern is echoed in a similar account regarding a Fortnite deal with manufacturer LG. If Epic wanted to avoid the problem altogether, a direct-download option would be difficult as well. The filing reports that “leading Google Play executives have acknowledged that directly downloading Fortnite from a source other than Google Play is ‘an awful experience’, and developers like Epic should ‘worry that most will not go through the 15+ steps.’”

sweeney google v epic court filings declassified

With Epic Games’ pushback on Google Play, Google seemingly called the efforts a “contagion” that potentially threatened the company. Thus, Google “has developed a series of internal projects to address” the problem and “even contemplated buying some or all of Epic to squelch this threat.” Evidently, this was news to Epic Games CEO Tim Sweeney, as he tweeted after the news broke that “This was unbeknownst to us at the time, and because of the court’s protective order we’re just finding out [about this] now.”

There is additional redacted information regarding the ways that Google worked to prevent Epic from contesting Google Play, which has been vehemently denied. In any event, both companies will have their day in court soon, so stay tuned to HotHardware for updates.