As part of the Epic vs. Apple trial that began today in California, numerous documents were made public as part of the evidence registry. One of these pertained to just how much money Epic Games is making from Fortnite, and surprising no one, it is a heck of a lot. According to The Verge, Fortnite made $9 billion in revenue in 2018 and 2019.
We don't know how much profit the game made, however. Overall, Epic as a company had a profit of $5.5 billion in 2018 and 2019.
An Excel file obtained by The Washington Post reveals that, between January 2017 and October 2020, the overwhelming majority of Epic's payments made to Microsoft and Sony related to Fortnite, the report said. A smaller percentage came from Rocket League, which Epic owns, and other Epic games.
Over that time period, Epic paid $237,175,521 to Apple. For comparison, Epic said it paid $245,992,576 to Microsoft and $451,405,240 to Sony in 2020 alone. This information was released by Epic to demonstrate that iOS is in fact not the biggest platform for Fortnite--not at all.
If Epic is paying hundreds of millions of dollars to platform-holders in commissions, that means Fortnite is making factors more in revenue. It is understood that Epic pays the 30% store fees on PlayStation and Xbox, so the total amount of money Epic makes from Fortnite is truly massive.
Epic believes that Apple is acting as a monopoly and is abusing its power because developers want the exposure of being on such a big store, so they don't have a choice but to agree to the 30% cut. The counter to this is that the iPhone is a general-use platform versus the console that is more specialized and has fewer users overall.
Another document obtained by The Washington Post shows that the Fortnite World Cup was not a big-time moneymaker. Epic said in the document that it "overestimated" how much money its 2019 event might make by $154 million. Emails from the court files showed Epic's employees talking about working with Apple to have the company become a sponsor for the Fortnite World Cup. The Epic employees said this could "give us some leverage with Apple."
The Epic vs. Apple trial is going on now and will take place Monday-Thursday every day for the next three weeks before the judge makes a decision. You can listen along to the case live online, and we'll report back with key details as they are announced.
The case got off to a chaotic start, as the beginning of the trial was flooded with the online audience screaming "free Fortnite."
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