As the flames continue to spread with regards to Epic Games and their crusade against several big tech companies, a lot of new information still continues to be released for both sides of the issues. The latest drop involves Google and their supposed hostile takeover of Epic Games, as revealed by newly unsealed court filings. The documents themselves make for some very interesting reading, even if it is still, in its current form, highly redacted and with many details omitted.
One of the biggest issues Epic Games brought up with this slew of information was Google’s reaction at the former’s plans to completely sidestep its Play Store by distributing its hit title, Fortnite, through other channels, in particular their own Epic Games Store. Epic describes the situation in their response, stating that Google “has even contemplated buying some or all of Epic to squelch this threat.”
What is especially interesting is that even though Epic Games has commented and discussed this situation, the actual messages discussing this possibility still remain inaccessible to the greater public. There was also no indication made in their statement that specifically mentioned Google reaching out to Epic Games with regards to a potential buyout.
Sideloading was also a big point of contention, as Fortnite, when it was available on the Play Store, was one of the apps that can be sideloaded directly from Epic Games. Some Google Play managers have apparently described the experience as “abysmal,” adding that Epic should “worry that most will not go through the 15+ steps.”
Tim Sweeney’s response, and what happens next
Whether this would have been a negotiation to buy Epic or some sort of hostile takeover attempt is unclear.
Here Google also talks about the “frankly abysmal” sideloading experience they created, all while touting Android publicly as an “open platform”.
— Tim Sweeney (@TimSweeneyEpic) August 6, 2021
In a tweet responding to the recently released documents, Epic Games CEO Tim Sweeney expressed that this situation was “previously unbeknownst” to the company. Sweeney has followed this up by criticizing Google’s own treatment of sideloading, and the company’s apparent hypocrisy by touting Android as an open platform.
Whatever people’s opinions are on both sides of the story, this series of back-and-forths between Google and Epic Games show no signs of ending soon. Just recently, Epic’s own lawsuit was linked with a much bigger and more serious antitrust case against Google. This was filed by a group of state attorneys general, and it claims that Android, despite being touted as such, is not as open of a platform as it seems considering the many hoops consumers have to jump through in order to download from third-party stores and download apps directly.