Epic Games Store Tops $680M in Player Spending Throughout First Year

Digital Disrupters-Tim Sweeney-Getty-H 2018
Mike Coppola/Getty Images for Samsung

The online storefront from the 'Fortnite' developer has generated some backlash for its exclusive deals with publishers, but such criticisms have done little to slow down its revenue.

Epic Games, the developer of the popular battle royale shooter Fortnite, has released new statistics about its Epic Games Store, revealing that the online storefront has generated more than $680 million in player spending since its launch in December 2018.

The Epic Games Store has made an impact over its first full year of launch, largely by offering timed exclusive windows for titles to PC players. That decision has generated some criticism for fans, particularly those who frequent Valve's Steam online storefront, Epic's major competitor in the space.

Epic Games CEO Tim Sweeney responded to criticisms on Twitter last June, saying, "We believe exclusives are the only strategy that will change the 70/30 status quo at a large enough scale to permanently affect the whole game industry...the strategy of exclusives which, though unpopular with dedicated Steam gamers, do work, as established by the major publisher storefronts and by the key Epic Games store releases compared to their former Steam revenue projections and their actual console sales."

The "70/30" figure Sweeney mentions in his tweets is a reference to the revenue split provided to developers on the Steam platform, with 70 percent of revenue going to the studio and 30 percent to Steam (Valve updated this policy in November 2018 to allow games that generated $10-$50 million to keep 75 percent of revenue and titles that exceeded $50 million to keep 80 percent). The Epic Games Store, meanwhile, operates on an 88/12 percent revenue split with developers. 

Last April, responding to claims of creating a "monopoly" with its exclusives deals, Sweeney tweeted, "If Steam committed to a permanent 88 percent revenue share for all developers and publishers without major strings attached, Epic would hastily organize a retreat from exclusives (while honoring our partner commitments) and consider putting our own games on Steam."

Despite the controversy, the Epic Games Store has had a successful launch year, topping 108 million PC customers. The top titles on the platform (which include Remedy Entertainment's Control, House House's Untitled Goose Game and Gearbox's Borderlands 3, among others) were all exclusive PC releases on the platform.

According to a report by Mike Rose, CEO of game publisher No More Robots in England, from September, revenue for titles on Steam was down 47 percent year-over-year between July and August. Valve did not respond to a request for comment about its revenue in 2019.