In the war of the storefronts, you either win by default because you’re Steam, or you need to pay a hefty sum to come on top. That sum? About $1 billion, which is how much Epic Games has spent so far securing exclusive rights to some of the top PC games.
There was never any doubt that Epic Games is among the gaming industry’s big spenders, but up until now we couldn’t get precise information on how much money it shelled out for all those deals. The data comes from the documents recently released during the trial between this software developer and Apple. In the documents, a file called “October 2019 Review of Performance and Strategy” sheds light on all the exclusivity deals Epic has made since launching its storefront. Up until September 2019, Epic has signed contracts for 105 games, either as fully fledged platform exclusives or as launch exclusives, spending a grand total of more than $1 billion.
More than a half of the sum was spent on launch exclusives, as in games that are just temporarily exclusive to the Epic Games Launcher. The exact amount was $542 million, accompanied by an additional expense of $52 million for securing exclusive rights to four games launching in 2021. Yes, two years in advance. The details of the timed exclusive launches weren’t revealed, though. Keen gamers will remember that these usually lasted 12 months. Afterward, the publishers would be free to sell their titles on Steam, GOG.com, and other digital platforms.
Borderlands 3 is one of the biggest deals Epic has made in the past years. For one year of exclusivity, the company had to pay $146 million to the publisher 2K. The deal paid for itself within the game’s launch month, though, as Borderlands 3 was sold in 1.56 million copies and brought about 800,000 new users to the platform.
Epic has also struck a lot of deals for giveaways. These would be the games that users can claim for free, but only during a specific promotional period. According to the aforementioned document, more than 105 million copies of the games were claimed during these giveaways, resulting in a grand total surpassing $11 million paid out to developers and publishers for this promotion.
Epic Games’ hunt for exclusives and user acquisition is far from over. The company has signed more than a hundred deals, some of them going as far as late 2024. Famous games like Dying Light 2 and Saints Row 5 are rumored to be part of these deals.