Epic, the developers and licensors of Unreal Engine, have announced a change to the revenue share model that they have been employing for use of the popular engine’s marketplace.
The Unreal Engine Marketplace is a place for people to buy content to drop into their Unreal Engine games. As a hypothetical example, someone could make a fence for a rustic antebellum southern house in UE4, put it up for sale for anyone who wants it for $10, someone making a game that takes place in the south and wants to buy a pre-made fence can buy it. Under the old model, which is in line with the industry standard for digital marketplaces, Epic took 30 percent of that $10 sale and the creator would take 70 percent. So the creator of the fence would get $7 from that sale while Epic gets $3.
Now, Epic has changed that split so it benefits the creators more. The new split gives the marketplace lister 88 percent of the revenue, while Epic takes 12 percent. That means, in the fence example, the person who created the fence gets around a $8.80 and Epic would take $1.20. Epic is also applying this retroactively, so sellers are getting backpay for these adjusted percentages since the store launched in 2014. The long and short of this is that it means more money for creators.
On a larger scale, though, it also means that Epic is changing the model for revenue splits on digital stores. The standard has always been a 70/30 split and has mostly persisted through every marketplace, including console stores. Epic changing the game on the revenue split may have rippling effect on other stores in the future.
Epic’s explanation of the change is simple: Fortnite is doing so well that they can pass the savings along to creators. There is also an unspoken self-beneficial aspect to it, as being able to afford lesser revenue likely attracts more people to use the marketplace and also incentivizes the use of the engine as a whole.
It will be interesting to see if any other stores follow suit.