Inside Epic Store's plans for Epic Games Publishing

Tek

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Yet when we covered lawsuit document takeaways back in May, we believed that financial realities were catching up with EGS: “We believe that EGS ‘minimum guarantee’ deals are winding down. The catalog is widening, and many more publishers/devs have been let onto the Epic Games Store to publish games with no exclusivity, but no advance.”

And.. we now have proof of this, at least as of mid-2020, thanks to some late November official court document updates spotted on Reddit. Surprised to see new, interesting data crop up after the trial concluded. The Reddit post only mentioned a fraction of the full doc, but here’s what got our attention:
So yes, minimum guarantees from Epic have been dialed way down. And from the existing Epic Games Store games that got upfront MG $ and launched by mid-2020, there's interesting data, too.

We particularly noted the below slide, showing it's the smaller games (minimum guarantee <$10 million) recouping particularly badly - at 20% of lifetime forecast:
Anyhow, we suspected that Epic was pivoting to publishing as a better use of its cash, rather than these poorly recouped EGS advances. Hence the formation of Epic Games Publishing in March 2020, with the first announced games being from Playdead, Remedy, and Fumito Ueda's studio genDESIGN. (The more recently announced signings are games from Spry Fox and EYES OUT.)

And this newly available slide deck also has broad plans and budgets for Epic Games Publishing. It's rare to see a large-scale, multi-year publishing plan come out like this. So let's take a look through some of the numbers. Firstly, here's 2020 pipeline/costs:
So certainly, Epic isn't messing around here - even its 'Tier 3' titles are $5 million budget. (Also great to see marketing budget as a % of total budget for various sizes of title. Whether standard or not, it's very rare to get a concrete figure on this.)

And the 'Live Service' ones - such as the Iron Galaxy-developed Rumbleverse, which I'm guessing was a pre-2021 signing and just got announced - have as much as $50 million in development budget*. (*A separate slide notes there's a 'Live Service Tier 2' with $25 million dev budget, these are all guide numbers, etc.)
It's also interesting to see longer-term pipeline for the EGP project. Epic was planning - at least as of mid-2020 - to sign around 8 titles per year, as follows:
The bottom line? Rather than paying hefty up-front 'minimum guarantees' on titles on PC only, purely to bolster Epic Games Store, Epic Games Publishing can more holistically co-pilot high quality games across lots of platforms. This can still include an Epic Games Store-first approach on PC (but maybe even Steam later?)

Along the way, EGP can have deeper relationships with devs that might lead to acquisitions in the future, as Epic looks to 'own the metaverse'. Or at least own more hit GaaS titles which people are really engaged in, along the same lines as Rocket League and Fall Guys. Makes sense to me!

 

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