Documents Offer Insight Into How Much Epic Paid For Free Games And Exclusives

Jason Winter
By Jason Winter, News Editor May 4, 2021
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We know that Epic Games is making lots of money, but how much is it spending? More documents, revealed in the court battle between Epic and Apple, offer some insight into those figures, to go along with the ones we spotted yesterday.

If there are any two policies that seem to have defined the Epic Games Store, it's that it 1) offers a lot of games for free; and 2) snaps up exclusives. Both of those cost money, and we now have a partial picture of just how much. GameDiscoverCo's Simon Carless detailed the payouts for the first category through the EGS's first nine months, as well as Epic's return on those investments.

Not surprisingly, the first such game offered, Unknown World's Subnautica, tops the list in terms of new accounts created, though it trails other games slightly in terms of buyout price and entitlements (claims). In fact, I'm a little surprised at how little some of these games cost Epic as related to how much they effectively "made" for the game developers themselves: roughly 11 cents per game claimed.

Carless also had data on one of the big exclusives that Epic nabbed. It wound up costing Epic $146 million to land Borderlands 3, which went on to sell 1.53 million copies and make $77 million sales on Epic Games Store in its first two weeks. Given the usual 12% cut, that means that Epic made $9.2 million from the game over that time. Borderlands 3's launch resulted in the biggest day for revenue for the Epic Games Store up to that time, accounting for about half of the store's revenue in its first year.

Another set of documents also revealed some intriguing details regarding cross-play for Fortnite. Apparently, in 2018, Epic pitched cross-play for Fortnite with Sony, who felt that Epic and other companies "can [not] explain how cross-console play improves the PlayStation business." Epic then outlined a number of proposals that would "make Sony look like heroes." Publicly, Sony said it wouldn't offer cross-play because PlayStation was "the best place to play" Fortnite.

Finally, an amusing note from yesterday. Apparently, the dial-in line to listen in on the court proceedings was briefly opened so that anyone could talk and it took a while for them to figure out how to mute speakers. In the meantime, the court was deluged with pleas to "free Fortnite" from rabid fans. Eventually, the operators figured out how to mute things, but you'd imagine that Epic CEO Tim Sweeney is smiling at the dedicated fan base he's managed to cultivate.

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About the Author

Jason Winter
Jason Winter, News Editor
Jason Winter is a veteran gaming journalist, he brings a wide range of experience to MMOBomb, including two years with Beckett Media where he served as the editor of the leading gaming magazine Massive Online Gamer. He has also written professionally for several gaming websites.

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