A lawsuit has claimed that Google has struck at least 24 deals with app developers to prevent competition to the Play Store, including a $360 million deal with Activision Blizzard and a $30 million deal with Riot Games, reports Reuters.
These claims emerged in an unredacted copy of the lawsuit filed against Google by Epic Games in 2020. Such anticompetitive practices have become a hot topic in the mobile gaming industry over the past several years, as the industry’s growing market share results in more competition.
The deal with Activision was first announced in January 2020, soon after the company told Google that it was considering the launch of its own app store. The suit also claims that Google’s partnership with Riot was also created due to a desire to hamper its efforts to create its own app store.
Competition or Monopoly?
The lawsuit alleges that Google’s deal with Activision Blizzard increased prices, reduced the quality of service, and “effectively ensured that (Activision) would abandon its plans to launch a competing app store.”
The suit also claims that Google has similar deals in place with the likes of Nintendo, Ubisoft, and educational app company Age of Learning.
At the time the deal with Activision Blizzard was struck, Google forecast billions of dollars in lost income if developers began using alternative billing systems, available through other app stores.
Google has called the lawsuit with Epic Games baseless, and says that the deals it has struck with app developers reflect the heavy competition in the industry and a desire to keep developers satisfied. In 2021, Google filed a countersuit against the developer, claiming that it was owed financial relief due to Epic allowing players to make purchases within its game Fortnite using its own payment processing technology, thereby circumventing the fee charged by Google when payments are made on its system.
Earlier this year, we listed Riot Games and Activision Blizzard as two of the top 50 mobile game makers of 2022.