Epic Games Store free giveaways have bolstered the storefront close to Steam's success

Written by Stuart Thomas on Wed, Jun 24, 2020 4:00 PM
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The free game giveaways from the Epic Games Store were a bold move, giving away tonnes of indie titles and even big AAA titles for completely free every week. Let’s face it, we all thought that Epic Games was just losing boatloads of money trying to get people to use their platform, I’m sure most of us haven’t spent a dime on their yet. But according to Epic Games, their storefront is now catching up to Steam’s success thanks to those very giveaways.

It’s still a ways behind Steam, but the Epic Games Store is now a formidable opponent against Valve’s very own storefront. The free games strategy was risky, but it has now taken the Epic Games Store ro 61 million monthly active users, and an average peak concurrent user count of 13 million users.

Since launching the Epic Games Store, we've always wanted to create a huge event around our very successful Free Games weekly program to give something awesome to players worldwide, and we decided to go big,” said the General Manager of the Epic Games Store, Steve Allison. “We invested in acquiring the rights to give four of the biggest games in the world away free.

Those 4 games included Civilization 6, The Borderlands Handsome Collection, ARK: Survival Evolved, and of course, the biggest giveaway they ever made, Grand Theft Auto V. GTA 5 even broke the store on the day because demand was so high for it. Despite this success, the founder of Epic Games Tim Sweeney even mentioned that the free giveaways have also somehow increased sales on other storefronts too. I guess it’s a win, win for everybody.

And whilst 13 million peak concurrent users is nearly half of Steam’s record of 24.5 million, it’s starting to catch up quickly. Sweeney previously cited that storefronts like GOG and Humble Bundle were setup with loads more features and spend years reaching barely a fraction of sales of Steam. But within two years, the Epic Games Store has already reached 15% market share, which is pretty remarkable to say the least.

What do you think? Will the Epic Games Store continue to grow? Or will these onslaught of free games eventually bite them back? And how has your view on the storefront changed? If at all? Let us know!

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15:14 Jun-25-2020

People are playing free games. Amazing.

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18:20 Jun-25-2020

Good one.
On a side note, the first game I bought from Steam hasn't seen more than 2 hours of my time, while the F2P (also on Steam) game has over 40 hours in 2 weeks.

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21:56 Jun-25-2020

Doesn't say anything that doesn't normally happen literally everywhere. Buy an expensive bottle of wine - enjoy it less than a cheap bottle from the corner shop. Buy an article of clothing and never wear it again. Buy a game, play it, drop it in favor of a better one. Happens all the time, is what I'm trying to say here :D

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22:39 Jun-25-2020

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23:35 Jun-24-2020

No.

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22:37 Jun-24-2020

Free games and even exclusives were great for getting Epic Store up and build userbase, even if that userbase wasn't happy with exclusives and lack of features. But question really is, what will be their long term game to keep users around, will revenue stream from buyers be good enough to support free games, since Epic does still pay developers for free copies we get. That is the real question.

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20:45 Jun-24-2020

People like free stuff , who would've thought

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20:03 Jun-24-2020

Free is the most powerful marketing tool. Also for anyone wondering, Epic Games made USD $800 million in its first year from sales of its very limited catalog of third-party titles. There is an old saying, "If you build it, they will come."

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20:20 Jun-24-2020

"Made $800 Million" I'm too lazy to check, but I am pretty damn sure that's revenue, not profits. Considering the enormous sums they paid for exclusivity deals, free games and marketing I doubt they returned much if any profit. They'll come for free stuff, if they're given a choice, they'll chose the better platform still.

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21:10 Jun-24-2020

Correct, and the amount he used is incorrect. Back in 2018 they had $680 million in total sales and of that only $251 million were third-party sales. They only get a 12% cut from that, so their actual "profit" is $30 million (excludes the exclusives, free game deals and Fortnite). Which is abysmal, considering GOG did better for their 2018 financial year and made $28.6 million in profits. Which everyone reported as being pretty weak.

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08:49 Jun-25-2020

Better platform is subjective and is entirely dependent on what a user wants. For example, I play single player games mostly so I look for availability, download function and playing the game. That's it. For someone strapped in cash, they may look for free stuff. And for whales and krakens, their dreams come true in gambling apps on mobile marketplaces.


They will choose the better platform is a valid opinion but it is your opinion just like how I have mine and others have theirs.

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18:03 Jun-24-2020

Can't beat free.

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17:20 Jun-24-2020

I started to pick up free games from them after they offered Farming Simulator, but I still haven't played any of those games just like I haven't installed their launcher (ok - i had - just to link it to uplay, so I can play those games from there and then immediately uninstalled it)...

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17:18 Jun-24-2020

The 61 million MAU was just because of the big games that month, I highly doubt it will continue to be that high in the following months. I know of a few people that just made a few accounts of EGS and Rockstar to have "spare" accounts, so wouldn't be surprised if other people did the same.


It's interesting though, because at the start of this year they claimed to have 108 million accounts. That means 47 million users didn't even login to claim the game even though they plastered advertising for them everywhere online and paid to have it advertised with certain accounts.


However, they're just doing these free game giveaways to boost their MAU to get more developers with them (although not working) and recently to boost their evaluation.

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16:59 Jun-24-2020

Well, I've bought two games from the EGS in Shenmue III and Control at cheap prices but I'm going to avoid buying from them unless it's a necessity. I only have two of the many free games I've picked up on my SSD.

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16:45 Jun-24-2020

I see this more as a bribe.
"Hey, I'll give you free games, but you're also gonna use EGS while playing them. Shh... Just play the games, and don't mind us while we add you to the number of concurrent users, even though you may not buy from us!"

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16:44 Jun-24-2020

Still Only use it for free games.
thats the only reason i have it on my pc.
if what to support the devs buy it on steam after you're free trail or just keep it on your pc

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16:41 Jun-24-2020

Is it sustainable though?
If they can keep it up, great! More free games and probably a response from Steam to compete - a complete win for us consumers. But...if the stream dries up people will just go back to feature-complete stores

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