Google’s Interest in Acquiring Epic in 2018 Focused on Integrating Fortnite as a Key Element of Android

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The ongoing Epic Games v. Google trial has uncovered the tech giant’s plan to purchase the Fortnite developer at one point.

According to an internal email exchange dating back to 2018, Google planned to purchase a controlling stake in Epic Games. This would have theoretically allowed Google to make Fortnite a core component of Android. On top of that, Google may have been eyeing Fortnite as a possible killer app for the now-defunct Stadia.

“We are bringing a package offering to BC on Thursday re Epic. Spoke to Jamie and I think we need a couple of pages about what investment could look like and someone there to discuss (based on whatever we can glean publicly),” the email reads. “We just did a prep call and investment was the only way people could realistically think of to sway them on Epic’s approach to Android — because it’s easy to imagine us investing billions at some ridiculous valuation (for everyone except for the corpdev folks).”

Of course, as history shows, the deal was never broached in any meaningful way in 2018. However, as the court case indicates, Google did approach Epic Games in 2021 and attempted to pay the creator $147 million USD (around $196 million CAD) for Play Store exclusivity. Once again, this deal fell through for one reason or another.

Google has made multiple attempts to make moves within the gaming industry. Upon the launch of Stadia, the company attempted to create and publish its own first-party titles. These plans included opening up a Montreal-based game studio. Google’s gaming operations were once led by industry veteran Jade Raymond. Stadia ultimately failed to attract support and players. After three years, Google pulled the plug on Stadia, shutting down the service.

It’s interesting to consider what may have been had Google purchased Epic Games in 2018. To date, Fortnite has generated over $26 billion USD (roughly $35.4 billion CAD). It’s difficult to imagine Google would have seen the same revenue had it gated Fortnite as an Android exclusive. It’s also possible we may not have gotten to the point where Eminem plans an in-game performance, closing out the wildly successful Chapter 4.

Image credit: Epic Games

Via: Android Police

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