Epic Games keeps disrupting the video games industry, this time announcing a new game publishing division

Laurent Giret

Epic Games, the company behind the Unreal Engine, the Epic Games Store and the massively popular Fortnite game is now aiming to completely change the business relationships between game developers and publishers. Yesterday, the company announced Epic Games Publishing, which is described as “a new multiplatform publishing effort with a developer-first approach.”

Remedy (Max Payne, Alan Wake, Quantum Break), Playdead (Inside, Limbo), and gen DESIGN (The Last Guardian) are the first high-profile developers to partner with Epic Games Publishing, and Epic’s business terms are pretty much unprecedented in the video games industry.

Here are the points that Epic Games highlighted today:

  • All studios working with get to keep their Intellectual property, and Epic Games will give them full creative freedom
  • Epic Games will finance 100% of the development costs, including developer salaries, localization, marketing, and publishing.
  • Once the aforementioned development costs are recouped for Epic Games, the company will share “at least 50% of all profits” with game studios.

Again, these are much more generous terms compared to what other big game publishers usually offer to developers. “The Epic Games approach to publishing fundamentally changes the developer/publisher model, and aims to have the most developer-friendly terms in the industry, so that creators can focus on making great games,” the company explained yesterday.

After shaking up digital game distribution with its Epic Games Store, which gives 88% of sales revenue directly to developers (versus 70% on many other stores like Steam), Epic is now trying to do disrupt the game publishing industry, and the results could be pretty interesting. Epic Games received a lot of criticism in recent months for courting time exclusivity deals for certain AAA games like Metro Exodus and Borderlands 3. However, it’s important to note that games published by Epic Games can be multiplatform, and the PC versions may not be exclusive to the Epic Games Store.

Going forward, we may well see many more indie studios or even bigger ones team up with Epic Games Publishing instead of leading publishers like EA, Ubisoft, Square Enix, or Xbox Game Studios. Keep in mind that Epic Games’ Unreal Engine is also incredibly popular, making Epic uniquely positioned to help developers achieve their creative ambitions. “We’re building the publishing model we always wanted for ourselves when we worked with publishers,” said Tim Sweeney, Founder and CEO of Epic Games, and it will be interesting to see if the competition will now follow Epic Games’ initiative