A document that was leaked during the ongoing Epic vs. Apple lawsuit seems to reveal the number of downloads that each free game offered on the Epic Game Store gathered. It also showed the lump sum paid to each developer. The document was posted on Twitter by Simon Carless–GameDiscoverCo founder and former Gamasutra editor–with the numbers running form January to September 2019.
Leaked documents should always be taken with a grain of salt, but with all the preparation needed for large lawsuits, it’s possible these numbers are real. Carless stated he obtained the document from the public Apple vs. Epic document repository on the cloud content site, Box.
The numbers give a glimpse into the cost of “free” games. For example, Epic $1.4 million to Unknown Worlds for Subnautica as a temporarily free game on Epic Games Store. Most of the amounts paid are in the hundreds of thousands of dollars, with the exception of Metro: 2033 Redux which was apparently bought for $0.
The document also showed the number of Epic accounts and the percentage of accounts that were new to Epic, as well as a column that calculates how much the company spent on each new user. This metric is abbreviated UA, or “User Acquisition.”
The whole reasoning behind these free games was to bring new users to Epic Games Store so they can establish a base against Steam. Epic is able to attempt this takeover because of the massive amount of money Fortnite has made them in the last few years.