The trial between Epic and Apple over app store practices is underway and previously private details of the Fortnite developer’s business are spilling. We’re not a business site and ordinarily I wouldn’t care, but ooh, it’s good goss isn’t it. For example, we now know that Fortnite made over $9 billion in its first two years of release.
As reported by The Verge, a new financial document made public as part of the trial discloses that Fortnite made $5.4 billion (around £3.8 billion) in 2018, its year of release, and $3.7 billion in 2019. The document was prepared in 2020, but Tim Sweeney revealed in testimony that Epic made a further $5.1 billion in gross revenue in 2020.
Sweeney says Epic employs 3200 people, has offices around the world and (this might be new info?) made $5.1bn in gross revenue in 2020.
— erin griffith (@eringriffith) May 3, 2021
Unsurprisingly, the Fortnite revenue far outstrips any other source for Epic. “Other games” – including Rocket League – made a combined $108 million in revenue in 2018 and 2019, while the Epic engine made $221 million. There are other sources of income, but nothing gets close.
If you’re wondering how Epic can afford to pump so much money into the Epic Games Store, this is how. The same court case has also led to disclosure of how much Epic spend to secure free games to giveaway on the store, for example, while last month court documents revealed they had spent $444 million to secure store exclusives. In both cases, the figures are a drop in the ocean versus the money Fortnite makes.
The trial between Epic and Apple relates to the rules around releasing products on Apple’s app store. In brief terms, Epic want to give less of a cut of revenue to Apple, and want to be able to offer subscriptions, purchases and customer support to their players without having to go through Apple. Apple want: not that. The outcome of the three-week trial could have broadranging consequences for everything released on the app store and for digital stores more generally.
If anyone wants to put Sweeney on trial for how often he uses the word “metaverse”, please do.