Epic paid devs nearly $12 million for 9 months of Epic Games Store free games

The big Epic Games v. Apple case officially kicked off today, offering a unique look at the finances and strategy behind Epic Games Store initiatives like its free game promotions.

Epic Games paid out nearly $12 million to game developers and publishers in an early effort to use free game promotions as a way to drive new users to its then-fledgling Epic Games Store.

This data comes straight from Epic Games itself, and is one of the many documents shared as part of the legal battle between Epic and iPhone-maker Apple that finally went to trial today.

The document, shared by GameDiscoveryCo founder Simon Carless, takes a look at the first nine months of the Epic Games Store's free game promotions, and breaks down how much Epic paid to feature a game, how many folks it brought into the platform, and how much Epic ended up paying per new user.

With that in mind, a couple of interesting campaigns stand out. First off, Epic's free game promotion for the Batman Arkham Collection back in late 2019 was the most expensive upfront, but managed to bring in a good amount of new accounts for Epic's trouble.

Epic Games paid $1.5 million to give the Batman Arkham Collection away in September 2019, and ultimately saw 6.5 million accounts redeem a copy. Of that 6.5 million, just over 613,900 were new accounts, or roughly 10 percent of those total redemption and a cost of $2.44 per new user.

That's the second-best campaign Epic ran during those first nine months, behind only Subnautica which set Epic back $1.4 million as was given away only weeks after the Epic Games Store first launched in December 2018. The Subnautica campaign ultimately brought 804,000 new accounts to the Epic Games Store, 17 percent of the 4.6 million game redemptions for a total cost of $1.74 per new users.

On the other side of things, free game promotions for games like Inside and Celeste ended up costing Epic a pretty penny on the UA front. The company paid Celeste developer Matt Makes Games $750,000 to give Celeste away for free in August 2019. Through that promotion, Celeste was downloaded a total of 2.7 million times but only 62,500 of those were new signups, leading to a $12 per new user acquisition cost.

There's plenty more to be gleaned in the chart, shared just below, and no doubt more interesting data points surrounding both Epic and Apple will come to light as the trial continues on.

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