Google’s ‘Project Hug’ paid out huge sums to keep game devs in the Play Store, Epic filing claims

Google’s ‘Project Hug’ paid out huge sums to keep game devs in the Play Store, Epic filing claims


Illustration by William Joel / The Verge

Google quietly paid game developers hundreds of millions of dollars in incentives to keep their games on the Play Store, a newly unredacted complaint from Epic Games in its antitrust suit against Google alleges. The program was known as “Project Hug,” or later as the “Apps and Games Velocity Program.”

In 2018, when Fortnite for Android first launched, Epic Games took the unusual step of exclusively releasing it outside of the Google Play Store. Instead, players had to download an installer directly from Epic’s website, allowing the company to bypass Google’s 30 percent fee — at the cost of a less user-friendly installation process. Epic Games would eventually relent and release Fortnite on the Play Store in April 2020 (at least, until it…

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