Epic Games Store freebies are attracting tons more gamers – but they’re not spending

(Image credit: Rockstar Games)

Epic Games Store’s freshly-published report for 2020 shows that a whole load more gamers have flocked to the store – unsurprisingly, considering some of the top games which were given away for free throughout the year – but profits were only up slightly.

In other words, while there may be a lot more users on the platform, spending hasn’t increased much at all. Coming to the numbers, there are now over 160 million Epic Games Store users, compared to 108 million in 2019, a very impressive leap of almost 50%.

Daily active users witnessed an increase of 192%, hitting 31.3 million, with a peak of 13 million concurrent players (gamers playing simultaneously on the platform), nearly double that of 2019 (which witnessed a high of 7 million). Monthly active users reached 56 million in December 2020, compared to 32 million the previous year.

Those statistics certainly point to a successful year ,and a big driver of this, as mentioned, is the free games Epic gave away during the course of the year: 103 of them, including major titles like Star Wars Battlefront 2 most recently, Grand Theft Auto V, Civilization 6, Watch Dogs 2 and Borderlands: The Handsome Collection.

Those freebies witnessed a total of 749 million downloads, no less (compared to 200 million downloads of free games in 2019).

Money matters

As to the money Epic made, it totaled $700 million (around £510 million, AU$915 million), with 37% of that spent on third-party games (non-Epic titles), a figure of $265 million (around £195 million, AU$345 million); although that was only up slightly on 2019 which witnessed a total of $680 million (around £500 million, AU$890 million) and $251 million (around £185 million, AU$330 million) being taken respectively.

The number of hours played by gamers on Epic’s platform was also up strongly in 2020, with a total play time of 5.7 billion hours recorded, far more than the 3.35 billion hours of 2019 (but given the major increase in user numbers, and lockdowns related to the pandemic, again that’s no surprise).

Epic’s long-term strategy is no doubt wrapped up in the hope that those freebie gamers will turn into paying customers as time goes on, with the company also indicating that it’s undertaking a drive to make more games available on the store.

Epic said: “We’re making strides to offer more titles on the store by onboarding more developers and introducing their titles to the Epic Games ecosystem. The Epic Games Store grew from 190 games in 2019 to 471 in 2020.

“In 2021, we’re going to rapidly expand the catalog of new titles available on the Epic Games Store even further by providing developers with self-publishing tools for the EGS Platform and we’ll be releasing details on those specific plans soon.”

Epic also notes that it’s going to improve existing features like wishlists and achievements, as well as adding more social features to make gamers feel more like they’re part of a broader community.

Via Wccftech

Darren is a freelancer writing news and features for TechRadar (and occasionally T3) across a broad range of computing topics including CPUs, GPUs, various other hardware, VPNs, antivirus and more. He has written about tech for the best part of three decades, and writes books in his spare time (his debut novel - 'I Know What You Did Last Supper' - was published by Hachette UK in 2013).