Google’s attempts to break into the gaming market are well-documented with the company’s best effort being the now-defunct Google Stadia. However, shortly before the streaming device was introduced to the world, Google apparently discussed teaming up with Tencent to purchase Fortnite developer Epic Games.
As reported by The Verge, newly surfaced court case emails from 2018 showed that the company considered partnering with Tencent to purchase 100% of Epic Games, eyeing Fortnite as a “leading business driver” across multiple platforms.
In July 2018, ex-Stadia executive Phil Harrison wrote the following in an email regarding a potential acquisition of Epic:
I’ve taken a stab at a high-level strategic rationale for an investment in Epic.
Fortnite is (or can be) the leading business driver for Google across:
- YouTube (already 100M+increase in game watch time MAU)
- GCP (to shift 130M+players from AWS and build an anchor tenant in games)
Dav Sobota, the director of corporate development at Google, responded:
“As a potential alternative, Phil is proposing we consider approaching Tencent to either (a) buy Epic shares form Tencent to get more control over Epic (unclear how that helps us without a majority share) or (b) join up with Tencent to buy 100% of Epic (and then of course we do a lot of deep commercial things with Epic).”
Historically, the acquisition proposal never got off the ground which might be a good thing. Since 2018, Epic Games grew its influence as Fortnite retained most of its popularity over the years, leading to the launch of the Epic Games Store and further breakthroughs in Unreal Engine.
Microsoft officially completed its acquisition of Activision Blizzard a few weeks ago, though analysts predict that major gaming acquisitions and studio purchases will only increase in 2024 as a result. Former PlayStation boss Shawn Layden took a firm stand against the idea of big acquisitions in the gaming industry, saying it will become problematic when smaller studios will have to answer to larger organisations and essentially kill the “creativity urge” for developers.
Source: The Verge