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Google gave $360M in incentives to ensure you could download games from the Play Store
- Google allegedly gave $360 million in ad credits and co-marketing incentives to Activision Blizzard to ensure that its games launched on the Google Play Store alongside rival platforms.
- Further, Google allegedly had a campaign internally called “Project Hug,” which attracted developers to the Play Store.
- Some internal emails indicate that Google was intent on discouraging developers from setting up their own rival app stores.
Most of us recognize the Google Play Store as the premier destination to download and install apps and games on our Android phones. But Android has also long remained an open platform, allowing third parties to make it their own home. How does the Google Play Store remain the top choice for all the top apps and games? In addition to just being good, Google apparently also provides incentives to developers to keep them attracted to the Play Store.
According to a report from Bloomberg, sourcing court proceedings in the Epic Games vs. Google saga and the accompanying internal documents, Google allegedly provided incentives worth $360 million to Activision Blizzard to ensure that its games launched on the Google Play Store alongside rival platforms.
The campaign to incentivize developers was codenamed “Project Hug” within Google, with Epic’s lawyers arguing that this boiled down to “bribe or block” tactics to keep developers tied to the Play Store. Google counter-argued that its agreements (which include incentives such as ad credits and co-marketing) did not stop any developer from creating their own alternate app store.
Google insists Project Hug was an initiative to attract developers. Developers were asked to provide games on Google Play with the same level of features and quality presented on other platforms.
Internal emails pointed out that Google was intent on discouraging developers like Riot Games from setting up their own distribution platform called “off-Play.”
Activision Blizzard spokesperson told Bloomberg that Google never asked, pressured, or made them agree to not compete with Google Play.
The Epic Games vs. Alphabet trial is still underway. It remains to be seen how the jury adjudicates upon these claims from both the parties.