The firm sought to partner with Epic Games or Supercell to launch a mobile games marketplace
Activision Blizzard planned to open its own mobile game store before being acquired by Microsoft, court documents from the Epic Games and Google antitrust jury trial show.
According to The Verge, internal emails and documents from 2019 revealed two plans made by Activision Blizzard to strengthen its position in the mobile games market.
Emails between Activision Blizzard CFO Armin Zerza and Epic Games CEO Tim Sweeney detailed a plan for the firm to create a mobile storefront either on its own or in collaboration with Epic Games or Finnish mobile game developer Supercell.
Dubbed the “Steam of Mobile,” it would have run on a single payment system with a transaction fee of 10% to 12% rather than the 30% fee other stores impose, such as Google.
The store would have been made available on Android first, followed by iOS. Activision Blizzard planned to launch a pilot version of the storefront as a minimum viable product, only launching in the US and featuring games from King like Candy Crush.
In his deposition, Zerza said the app store idea was in “very early exploratory discussions” and that the firm “never pursued it because it wasn’t financially attractive.”
Instead, it went with the second plan – negotiating a $100 million deal with Google to “capture stronger economics for ABK across mobile, YouTube, advertising, media spend, and cloud.”
The Verge suggested that this was the deal Activision Blizzard preferred, and was ultimately the one the firm signed.
Epic Games alleged that Google “effectively” paid Activision Blizzard to sign this deal to prevent a competing mobile store from being available on Android – claims the Fortnite firm previously made in its original lawsuit ahead of this trial. Activision Blizzard dismissed these allegations at the time as “nonsense.”
Having now been acquired by Microsoft, Activision Blizzard is part of Microsoft’s plans to open a mobile storefront.
Xbox boss Phil Spencer recently shared that the gaming platform is working with unknown partners to move ahead with the plan, initially made public in October last year while Microsoft was acquiring Activision Blizzard.
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