Thanks to the ongoing legal battle between Epic Games and Apple, we now have some court documents that have been released that reveal some very interesting information regarding the new storefront, which has arguably been Steam’s biggest competitor. But it looks like the first year was a rough start for Epic, who apparently spent more than $11 million on free games in the first 9 months with not much to show for it.
The document in question shows how much Epic spent on each game every week in order to give it away for free, how many new users to the store resulted from the giveaway, and how many new accounts purchased a game after redeeming a free copy. The chart is pretty interesting, so take a look for yourself:
As you can see, Epic spent a total of $11,650,000 on free games in the first 9 months of operation, which started on December 14th 2018. That started with one of Epic’s biggest buyouts for Subnautica, which cost them $1,400,000. The biggest spend however was the Batman: Arkham Trilogy which cost them $1,500,000.
However, there are some interesting disparities between costs. Whilst the two titles above are pretty big and popular games, indie games such as Limbo and INSIDE cost $350,000 and $800,000 respectively, whilst Remedy’s Alan Wake only cost $150,000. Furthermore, Epic paid $0 for Metro 2033 Redux, as Deep Silver was apparently feeling generous.
Additionally, the chart shows just how much indie games are an important factor for attracting audiences. For instance, the “UA Cost” in the document stands for User Acquisition Cost, which is the buyout price divided by the number of new Epic accounts and reveals how much Epic spent to attract each new user.
For big games like Subnautica and the Batman Arkham trilogy, that attracted large numbers of people, but remains very costly thanks to their expensive buyout price. Whilst indie games like Super Meat Boy or Fez proved to be effective at attracting new users at a much cheaper price.
According to the document though, only around 7% of users on the Epic Games Store had actually spent money after acquiring at least one free game, which doesn’t seem too great for the store. However, once again this document only details the first 9 months of the free games program, so that number could have significantly grown since that time, especially since Epic started giving away some massive hitters last year like Grand Theft Auto 5 or Star Wars: Battlefront 2 earlier this year.
More details will be revealed tomorrow when the rest of the documents are released, which should show Epic’s spending on free games up until now, along with other interesting details. Whatever the stats are though, Epic will continue to lose money as they try to gain an audience, only expecting to turn a profit by 2027.
What do you think? Have you acquired a free game on the Epic Games Store? What title was your first claim? And have you spent money on the EGS after claiming a free game? Let us know!