Leaked Epic Games Store Documents Reveal Money And Downloads Numbers For "Free" Games

1 week ago

A leaked document from the ongoing Epic Games v. Apple lawsuit appears to reveal the number of downloads that each free game offered on the Epic Game Store amassed, as well as the lump sum paid to each developer. The document was posted on Twitter by GameDiscoverCo founder (and former Gamasutra editor) Simon Carless, and the numbers run for nine months, from January to September 2019.

As usual with these sort of leaked documents, we can't speak to the absolute veracity of these numbers, but considering the sort of info that has to be prepared for large lawsuits, it's definitely plausible. Carless said that he obtained the document from the public Apple vs. Epic document repository hosted on the cloud content site Box.

The numbers themselves give a rare look into the cost of "free" games. For example, according to the document, Epic paid Warner Bros. $1.5 million to offer the Batman Arkham series as a temporarily free game on the Epic Games Store. Most of the fees are in the hundreds of thousands of dollars, including hit indie games like Subnautica and Celeste, though Metro: 2033 Redux was apparently given for $0.

The document also shows the number of Epic accounts and the percentage of accounts that were new to Epic, as well as a column that calculates the amount of money Epic spent on each new user. That metric is abbreviated UA, for "User Acquisition." The whole purpose of these free games was to drive new users to EGS so they can establish a foothold against Steam. While these UA numbers are quite high, the colossal amount of money that Fortnite has made over the past few years has allowed Epic to finance this expensive strategy.

This leaked document is the latest in the unfolding saga of the Epic vs. Apple lawsuit, which began May 3. For more details on what the two tech companies are fighting over, and how it's likely to shake out, check out our updated explainer.

Author
Steven T. Wright

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