Activision Blizzard, Epic Games, and Supercell reportedly contemplated establishing a rival platform to Google Play
Amidst the legal clash between Epic Games and Google, an unexpected revelation has surfaced - the exploration of an Activision Blizzard app store. This surprising revelation sheds light on the gaming giant's contemplation of creating its own app store for Android devices back in 2019, as disclosed during the ongoing court proceedings.
The backdrop of this development is Epic Games' protracted legal battle with Apple over Fortnite revenues via the App Store. The subsequent case against Google, initiated three years after the initial lawsuit, has provided fresh insights into the industry, particularly Activision Blizzard's aspirations.
Internal emails and documents brought to light during the court proceedings indicate that Activision Blizzard considered two paths to establish its app store. The first involved collaboration with Epic Games and Supercell to create a store that could bypass Google Play fees. Under this plan, developers could sideload games on Android (with a potential Apple version later) at a competitive fee ranging from 10% to 12%, offering an alternative to the hefty 30% fee charged by Google. However, the pilot plan was to launch the store exclusively with King games, without immediate plans to open it to external developers.
The second idea, codenamed Project Boston, involved striking a deal with Google to offset the 30% in-app purchase cut by leveraging Google's advertising power. A deal worth over $100 million was reportedly signed, leading Epic Games to allege that Google essentially bought off Activision Blizzard to maintain its Android monopoly.
As the court case unfolds, questions arise about whether Activision Blizzard and Microsoft, now united through the largest-ever industry acquisition, may revisit the idea of an app store venture. Speculation emerges regarding the potential backing of a tech industry giant, although concerns about a Microsoft monopoly resurface.
In light of recent developments, including Epic Games' appeal in the antitrust case against Apple, and Microsoft's rumored work on its own app store, the gaming industry finds itself at the intersection of legal battles and strategic maneuvering. Activision Blizzard's past consideration of an app store venture, now known, adds a new dimension to the ongoing dynamics of the industry's major players.
Source: adapted from an article by Aaron Astle, News Editor for PocketGamer.biz.