Epic Games announced a new way to pay creators in the battle royale game Fortnite, which can be downloaded for free.
Epic said on Wednesday at the Game Developers Conference that anyone who designs “islands” in the game will now get 40% of the game’s income. This includes the money Epic makes from the sale of V-Bucks, which are the game’s currency, as well as the money people spend in Fortnite on things like starter packs, quest packs, cosmetics, and subscriptions to Fortnite Crew.
Creators can make their own unique game experiences with their own rulesets and designs on their own islands. How much a creator gets paid depends on how popular the island is and how many people keep coming back to it.
According to how Epic describes this programme, companies can also get paid. This means that just like with Roblox, professional game developers can post their own content on Fortnite and get paid for it. But the way the language is written makes it hard to tell if Epic can get some of the 40% back, which would make the amount that goes to third-party creators much smaller.
Already, about half of the time spent playing Fortnite is on user-made maps, but they are about to get a huge upgrade. Epic announced today that Fortnite will get an Unreal Engine editor, which is now available in a public beta. At least based on the demo videos, this seems like it will change the game:
Get ready to create.
Unreal Editor for Fortnite (UEFN) available now in Public Beta on PC. Download: https://t.co/64xBgpsT6X pic.twitter.com/rIA4TSgw1a
— Unreal Engine 🔜 GDC (@UnrealEngine) March 22, 2023
It makes sense that Epic would change its creator system now that it has a new editor. For people who wanted to make games but didn’t have much experience, Fortnite’s old creator programme didn’t offer much. Creators had a unique code that fans could use to get 5% of the money made when they bought something in the Fortnite shop.
Epic is calling the new programme “Creator Economy 2.0,” and users can sign up on the new “Creator Portal” for Fortnite. If a creator joins before April 21, they will be paid for any island work they did after March 1. Users must be at least 18 years old and have an account that has been open for at least 90 days before they can get paid.
The 40% number is a good choice. Epic has been in a lawsuit with Apple for a long time now. They say that Apple’s iOS App Store hurts competition because it takes 30% of all in-app purchases. Epic first sued Apple in 2020, when the company took Fortnite off the App Store. Epic had made a new payment system that let it get around Apple’s framework for in-app purchases.
The first verdict in the case was not clear, so both companies decided to file an appeal. A judge said that Apple was not a monopoly, but that the company couldn’t stop apps from sending customers to a different payment processor to avoid the 30% cut. Epic made a case, asking Apple to let third-party payments work. Apple also filed an appeal. It wanted to stop these workarounds so that payments would only go through its own channels.
Because of how the new Fortnite payments model works, it’s not easy to compare Apple’s app store to Epic’s in-game creator earnings. Epic says that app developers have no choice but to put their apps on Google Play and Apple App Stores. However, Fortnite is just one ecosystem where app developers can make money.
Depending on how the details play out and how they make the company look, we may hear more about Epic’s new creator payments programme as the two companies continue to argue their cases.
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