Widely embraced/feared search engine business Google - hello, Google! Please top-rank our Best Of features, if you'd be so kind - considered buying out Fortnite and Unreal Engine creator Epic in partnership with Tencent, according to documents revealed as part of Epic and Google's on-going legal battle over whether Epic should be able to sell stuff within the Android version of Fortnite.
Referred to as "Project Elektra", this plan could have seen Google buying shares from Tencent, which acquired around 48.4% of Epic back in 2012, or collaborating with Tencent to scoop up 100% of Epic between them - the key obstacle presumably being Epic co-founder and controlling shareholder Tim Sweeney. All that comes from an email exchange featuring Google's former vice president and general manager Phil Harrison, who used to be in charge of the Stadia streaming service before Google shut it down.
The Verge has shared an excerpt from an email Phil Harrison sent on 15th July 2018, in which he "[takes] a stab at a high-level strategic rationale for an investment in Epic", arguing that Fortnite "is (or can be) the leading business driver for Google across" Youtube, Google Cloud Platform and Project "Yeti" (which was later revealed to be Google Stadia).
The Verge has also posted a follow-up email from Google director David Sobota, sent on 16th July 2018:
Another line from the unredacted Project Elektra docs notes that Epic "may be open to a second large strategic investor as a counterweight to Tencent" but that "Tencent may not be willing to sell shares, or may seek to block another strategic investor (investor rights unknown)". Google apparently considered spending around $20 billion to acquire a roughly 20% stake in Epic.
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