Google on the Rocky Road

We humans are quick to form associations. Yes, it’s an undeniable fact that if we observe two things together enough times, then in our mind an irrevocable association is formed. Once that happens, every time we interact with one of the two things, we are automatically thinking about the other thing as well, as if by pure instinct. Over the years, many of our habits have changed, but this habit in particular has firmly remained a part of our identity. If anything, it has only developed into a more integral trait as the possibilities of an association grow bigger and bigger. For instance, when talking about video streaming, we instantly think of Netflix, when talking about e-commerce, we instantly visualize the Amazon logo, and when talking about mobile games, we are reminded of Google Play Store in no time.

It’s safe to say that Google Play Store has established itself as the home of mobile gaming. The store has basically made everyday life easier for gamers, who don’t have an access to a proper gaming console. It hasn’t just delivered games, but it has ensured that a greater quality was being consistently brought to the mobile gaming sphere. Nevertheless, the presumed home of mobile gaming currently finds its feet in turbulent waters after accusations of unscrupulous activities were made against the entity by well-known game developer, Epic Games.

According to Epic Games, Google struck a bunch of under-the-table deals with some top developers to ensure they retain their fleet of popular games. The said activity was reportedly done in the name Google’s ‘Project Hug’. Even though it might seem absurd that Google felt the need to do something of this nature, there are reasons to believe Epic Games’ claim.

Back in 2018, Epic Games made the bold move of releasing their famous game, Fortnite, outside of Google Play Store. At the time, it was seen as company’s way of avoiding Google’s 30% fee. The next chapter in Google’s tussle with Epic Games came when the latter eventually released their game on the Play Store, but Google removed it because Epic Games allowed its users to bypass Google fee during in-app purchases. This would play a massive role in Epic Games eventually filing a lawsuit against the company.

Epic Games stated that Google has been fearful of other games walking the path of Fortnite, and this is validated by several reports conveying the concern in Google’s camp over user retention.

If we are to put any stock in the projections, then the growing popularity of Epic Games Store could possibly mean losses worth between $350 million and $1.4 billion for Google by 2022. Throw in the possibility of other budding stores gaining eyeballs and these losses could very well go up to somewhere between $1.1 billion and $6 billion.



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