Epic wanted Sony’s PlayStation PC games to compete with Steam, documents show
Epic Games has been making an attempt to persuade Sony, Microsoft, and different publishers to convey their titles to the Epic Games Retailer and is keen to spend tens of millions to accomplish that.
A 222-page confidential doc, filed as a part of the Epic v. Apple trial, reveals a broad effort to compete with Steam throughout 2020 with free games, Fortnite promotions, and extra. The doc was initially created in September 2020 and was printed after which rapidly deleted final week.
The documents additionally show that Epic provided Sony $200 million for at the least 4 first-party PlayStation games final 12 months, forward of an even bigger push by Sony to convey extra of its PlayStation games to PC. PC Gamer first reported on components of this doc final week, after a ResetEra discussion board thread detailed one of many slides. We’ve confirmed the doc is actual, and it incorporates a number of particulars round Epic’s efforts to enhance its sport retailer and compete with Steam.
It’s not clear if the Sony deal fell by means of for exclusivity, as Horizon Zero Daybreak appeared on each Epic Sport Retailer and Steam final 12 months, with Days Gone arriving subsequent week on each platforms. Epic Games has additionally been making an attempt to persuade Microsoft to convey its first-party games to the Epic Games Retailer. “Their PC Sport Go chief is towards what we’re doing,” notes the doc, and Microsoft is “successfully bidding towards us for content material.”
Microsoft first began distributing extra of its games to Steam in 2019, however this Epic doc seems to recommend that the Xbox maker has been speaking to Valve about Xbox Sport Go on Steam. Rumors have urged Valve is eager to get Sport Go on Steam, however nothing has been introduced up to now. Epic’s doc notes that Xbox chief Phil Spencer “is assembly with Gabe at Valve often,” in the identical part that discusses Microsoft’s Xbox Sport Go efforts.
Epic has additionally been assembly with Riot Games, Activision / Blizzard, and EA in a bid to get extra PC sport content material for its retailer. “League of Legends is a longshot,” admits Epic within the doc, whereas additionally noting the deal to launch Tony Hawk’s Professional Skater 1 + 2 on the Epic Games Retailer could lead on to extra sooner or later.
Elsewhere within the doc, it’s additionally revealed that Microsoft has apparently been requiring indie devs to agree to xCloud sport streaming help to publish on Xbox. “Microsoft is utilizing harsh language across the requirement,” claims Epic, noting that it’s “signal or be faraway from Xbox.” We’ve reached out to Microsoft to touch upon these claims. Different documents within the Epic v. Apple trial additionally detailed that Microsoft was proposing to cut back the reduce it takes on PC sport gross sales in alternate for xCloud streaming rights. That reduce to 12 % has been introduced, however Microsoft has not revealed whether or not builders have to agree to grant streaming rights to the corporate.
The doc exhibits how keen Epic was to appeal to top-selling games from Steam into the Epic Games Retailer. Epic recognized an approximate $500 million income alternative if all titles from competing platforms have been out there on its retailer. However out of the highest 100 promoting games on Steam in 2019, solely 20 have been out there on the Epic Games Retailer.
“These current Platinum, Gold, Silver, and Bronze titles not being on Epic Games Retailer is a obtrusive gap in our PC catalog,” admits Epic within the doc. “It will likely be onerous to transfer market share as long as they aren’t additionally at Epic Games Retailer.”
Epic clearly faces the problem of convincing publishers and builders to convey games to its PC retailer, however free games have been the largest draw. Different documents in Epic v. Apple revealed earlier this month that Epic spent at the least $11.6 million on free games, and gained 5 million new customers in return.
Epic has additionally been leveraging the recognition of Fortnite to convey extra folks to its retailer, with free cosmetics and campaigns to launch free games and lift consciousness of the Epic Games Retailer. Rocket League additionally boosted the Epic Games Retailer numbers when it went free-to-play in September, with Epic staff celebrating larger numbers by itself retailer than by means of Steam for launch day.
Whereas Epic revealed in January 2020 that it has 100 million Epic Games Retailer customers, its inner documents spotlight how its month-to-month lively consumer depend adjustments when there are free games. In September 2019, the month-to-month lively consumer depend (excluding Fortnite) jumped to 10.2 million after which dropped to round 8 million till February 2020, when it jumped again up to 10.14 million when Farming Simulator 19 and Murderer’s Creed Syndicate have been each free within the retailer. Epic made Grand Theft Auto V free in Could 2020, and this brought on the lively consumer depend to leap to an enormous 45.4 million earlier than dropping again down to 29.3 million the next month.
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