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Epic Games Store Continues Push For Dominance With 2 Free Games

Epic Games Store Continues Push For Dominance With 2 Free Games

Epic Games Store has just announced the store’s next free titles as they continue to push towards becoming the next dominant game store. Puzzle platformer Tandem: a Tale of Shadows and survival horror The Evil Within 2 will be available for players to claim for free from October 26 to November 2.

Epic Games Store Continues Push For Dominance With 2 Free Games

The new titles will replace the two previous games (Eternal Threads and The Evil Within) that are currently available for free. Competing in the video games market is becoming increasingly tough and most companies are willing to throw in as many incentives as possible to keep gamers on their platforms.

Epic Games CEO Tim Sweeney said in March that more high-profile exclusives will come to the Epic Games Store in the future. Epic claims that in 2022, over 230 million PC users visited the Epic Games Store, a quantum leap from the 36 million the company recorded in 2021. It also revealed that players spent $355 million on third-party games which was 18% higher year-over-year.

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In 2020, Epic Games dragged Apple, the iPhone maker to court in an antitrust case. At the end of the hearing in 2021, the court ruled that Apple cannot stop developers from including payment buttons and links in their apps that take consumers outside the App Store.

In July this year, Epic Games appealed the 2021 decision saying, “Apple imposes a huge commission on every sale the developers make”. Perhaps, part of the reason why Epic Games launched the Epic First Run program is to show how platforms should relate with developers.

Epic Games Store hopes to entice developers with an exclusivity scheme

Epic Games Store Continues Push For Dominance With 2 Free Games

Epic is not only targeting players in its popularity drive but also developers. In August the company announced the Epic Games Store exclusivity scheme called the Epic First Run. In the program, developers of any size are required to make their games exclusive to Epic Games Store for six months to claim 100% of revenue.

At the end of the six months, the revenue split will revert to 88% for the developer and 12% for Epic Games. To make the offer even more interesting, Epic mentioned that developers can still sell the games through their proprietary stores or launchers or use Epic Games Store’s keyless redemption program to sell on other stores like Humble Store and Green Man Gaming.

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“Participating products in the Epic First Run program will be presented to those users on-store with new exclusive badging, homepage placements, and dedicated collections,” the company said. “In addition, products will be featured in relevant store campaigns including sales, events, and editorial as applicable.”

Most platforms are often accused of not doing enough to promote developers’ games—even when they charge as high as 30% of the game revenue. In 2019, Steam adjusted its fee policy to favor games with high sales volume.

Although the fee is still 30% of sales, after the first $10 million the fee drops to 25%. The fee drops further to 20% after $50 million in sales. While Epic Games Store clearly disrupts the status quo, Valve (Steam’s parent company) believes their fee is still highly competitive. It appears Epic wants to make its game store more attractive to smaller developers.

The Epic First Run “is open to developers and publishers with registered Epic Games developer accounts and eligible products that launched on another storefront or service before October 31, 2023” the company said.

Epic desperately trying to ramp up revenue

Epic Games Store Continues Push For Dominance With 2 Free Games

Epic’s recent decisions point to the fact that all may not be well with the company’s finances. Last month, the company revealed plans to lay off about 830 employees which is approximately 16% of its workforce.

The company also announced a bump in the price of V-bucks in Fortnite as well as some real-money content packs. It doesn’t end there. They also plan to start charging fees for Unreal Engine from 2024. However, that will apply to those who use it for other purposes besides video game development.

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“We have an engine that’s completely free for anybody to use, but you’re never shipping a product that’s royalty-bearing then you never pay any money at all,” Sweeney explained during the Unreal Fest 2023 conference.

“This doesn’t affect game developers, but one of the things we’re going to change next year is for industries other than game development, such as the automobile industry and so on, we’re going to move to a seat-based enterprise software licensing model for Unreal Engine.”

Epic Games CEO Tim Sweeney

Although no terms have been agreed upon yet, Sweeney decided to put out the information ahead of time for the sake of transparency—perhaps also learning from the Unity saga.

Do you think that Epic Games Store can compete against Steam? Share your thoughts in the comment box below.

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