Epic Games has introduced a new payment system for creators who design “islands” in Fortnite, a popular, free-to-play battle royale game. As per the new system, Epic will share 40% of its Fortnite revenue with creators. This includes the money Epic earns from the purchase of in-game currency called V-Bucks, real money spent on items like starter packs, quest packs, and cosmetics, and Fortnite Crew subscriptions. Creators can develop unique in-game experiences with custom rulesets and designs on their personal island. Their payout is determined by how popular the island is and how many users keep returning to it.
Companies can also earn payouts in this program, enabling professional game developers to publish their content on Fortnite and get paid, similar to Roblox. However, it is unclear whether Epic itself is eligible to earn back a portion of the allotted 40%, which could result in a smaller sum going to third-party creators.
Epic has announced that Fortnite is getting an Unreal Engine editor, which is now available in public beta. The editor will upgrade the third-party maps in Fortnite, which already account for about half of the game’s playtime. Fortnite’s existing creator program had offered relatively low incentives for amateur game designers. With the new editor, Epic has introduced a new program called “Creator Economy 2.0.” Users can sign up on Fortnite’s new creator portal to join the program. Any creator who joins before April 21 will be paid retroactively for any island engagement from March 1 onward. To be eligible for payment, users must be 18 or older and have an account that is at least 90 days old.
The 40% figure is significant because Epic has been in a legal battle with Apple for years, alleging that the iOS App Store maker is anti-competitive, as it takes 30% of all in-app purchases. Epic sued Apple in 2020 when the company removed Fortnite from the App Store, after Epic implemented a new payment mechanism that bypassed Apple’s in-app purchase framework. A judge ruled that Apple was not a monopoly, but the company could not prevent apps from routing customers to a different payment processor to get around the 30% cut. Epic has appealed for Apple to support third-party payments, while Apple is seeking to close up these workarounds and keep payments flowing through its own channels.
Comparing Apple’s app marketplace to Epic’s in-game creator earnings is complicated due to the nuances of the new Fortnite payments model. Epic argues that app developers have no choice but to host their apps on Google and Apple stores, but Fortnite is just one ecosystem of many in which developers can earn an income stream. The details of Epic’s new creator payments program may surface during the appeals process between the two companies.
Get ready to create.