Project Hug: Did Google Want To Pay Off Activision Blizzard And Riot?

Activision Blizzard has already responded to what Epic Games raised in a recently published document…


Reuters reports that Google has allegedly spent hundreds of millions of dollars to stop several companies from launching rival app stores, preserving Google Play’s advantage. It had reportedly been codenamed, Project Hug. Epic Games filed a lawsuit against Google in 2020 when the company alleged that the Alphabet-owned company paid the publisher $360 million over three years. The lawsuit accuses Google of anti-competitive restraints on mobile and names Nintendo and Ubisoft. According to the Tim Sweeney-led company, these two of the twenty-four named companies were compensated to not compete with the Google Play Store. According to Epic, the money was for posting to YouTube and also in the form of a discount towards Google ads and cloud services.

Reuters reports Google says these deals provide healthy competition, and developers are happy. Microsoft recently suggested that if it could buy Activision Blizzard King for $68.7 billion, it would launch a “next-gen game store” against Apple and Google. Epic Games even claims that Google tried to buy them out in a hostile takeover attempt and that the company would have used Tencent to do it. (The twist: Tencent has a 40% stake in Epic…) According to Epic, Google treated Fortnite’s distribution outside the Google Play Store as a threat (and thus, the tech company didn’t receive its cut on microtransactions). Meanwhile, don’t forget that they also have a lawsuit against Apple over Fortnite…

According to Activision Blizzard’s vice president of corporate affairs, Lulu Cheng Meservey, the allegations in Epic’s lawsuit are false. She wrote on Twitter, “Epic is accusing Activision Blizzard’s partner Google of paying us not to compete with them. To be clear: that’s false. Google never asked, pressured, or made us agree not to compete with them – and we’ve already submitted documents and testimony disproving this nonsense.” And Riot is investigating the documents…

What is going on?

Source: VGC, GI

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