In 2019, EGS saw a series of daily user spikes surrounding the release of new free games. [credit:
Epic v. Apple court filing
Last month, a filing in the Epic versus Apple court case showed the public just how much money Epic has been throwing at free games and exclusive “guarantees” to establish a market foothold for the Epic Games Store. Now, a new filing in the case gives a detailed breakdown on how that money was spent over the first 11 months of the Epic Games Store’s existence (through October 2019).
While this version of Epic’s Review of Performance and Strategy is a bit dated now, it still gives the clearest public indication yet of how Epic sees huge upfront spending on free and exclusive games as key to attracting new users to EGS. Epic hopes that, in turn, will help eventually make EGS a self-sustaining, profitable storefront with a significant share of the PC gaming market.
How to make money with free games
All told, in the first 10 months of EGS’ existence (through September 2019), the filing shows Epic spent roughly $11.6 million to distribute just over 104 million free copies of 42 different titles. The “buyout price” paid from Epic to the publisher for each individual title varied, but the middle half of titles (25th to 75th percentile) cost $80,000 to $350,000 each. Two of the free games in the bunch were worth at least $1 million to Epic—Mutant Year Zero ($1M) and Subnautica ($1.4M)—while offering free copies of the three collected Batman: Arkham games cost Epic $1.5M total.