Epic launches Unreal Editor for Fortnite, will give 40% of all revenue to creators

Epic Games has announced a new creator compensation scheme for Fortnite, the ultra-popular, free-to-download Battle Royale game.

Announced at the Game Developers Conference on Wednesday, Epic will now share 40% of Fortnite’s revenue with anyone who designs “islands” in the game. This includes the money Epic earns from purchasing V-Bucks ( in-game currency), real money spent in Fortnite on items such as starter packs, quest packs and cosmetics, and Fortnite Crew subscriptions.

On their personal island, creators can develop their own unique gaming experiences with custom rules and designs. A creator’s payment is determined by the popularity of the island and the number of users returning to the island.

According to Epic’s wording, businesses can also earn payouts in this program, which means that, like with Roblox, professional game developers can also publish their own content to Fortnite and get paid. However, the language is unclear if Epic itself is eligible to recoup some of the allocated 40%, which would significantly reduce the actual sum going to third-party creators.

Already, about half of the game time in Fortnite takes place in user-created content, but these third-party maps are about to get a massive upgrade. Epic today announced that Fortnite is getting an Unreal Engine editor, which is now available in public beta. At least from the demo videos, this seems to be a game changer (literally):

With the new editor, it makes sense for Epic to change its creation system. Fortnite’s existing creator program offered relatively paltry incentives to would-be amateur game designers. Creators had a personal code, and if fans entered their code when purchasing an item from the Fortnite store, they would get 5% of the revenue. To join the new program, which Epic is calling “Creator Economy 2.0,” users can register on Fortnite’s new Creator Portal. Any creator who joins before April 21 will be paid retroactively for any island engagement from March 1. To be eligible for payment, users must be at least 18 years old and have an account that is at least 90 days old.

The figure of 40% is an interesting choice. For years at this point, Epic has been embroiled in a lawsuit with Apple alleging that the app store maker iOS is anti-competitive because it takes 30% of all in-app purchases. Epic originally sued Apple in 2020, when the company removed Fortnite from the App Store; Epic had implemented a new payment mechanism that allowed it to bypass Apple’s in-app purchase framework.

The initial verdict on the case was mixed, prompting both companies to appeal. A judge ruled that Apple was not a monopoly, but the company could not stop apps from routing customers to another payment processor to circumvent the 30% cut. Epic appealed, pushing for Apple to support third-party payments. Apple has also appealed, seeking to shut down those workarounds and keep payments through its own channels.

Comparing Apple’s app market to Epic’s in-game creator revenue isn’t entirely straightforward, given the nuances of Fortnite’s new payment model. Epic argues that app developers have no choice but to host their apps on the Google and Apple stores, but Fortnite is just one of many ecosystems in which developers can earn a income stream. Depending on how the details unfold – and what light they shed on the company – we could see elements of Epic’s new creator payout program appear in the ongoing appeals process. between the two companies.


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