55% of that windfall payment goes to 505 Games, Control’s publisher.
It’s rare that we get to see the details of the sorts of video game exclusivity deals that get fans all riled up. Everybody knows that large sums of money change hands to ensure platform exclusivity. But to date, the actual figures have been a closely guarded secret.
The added wrinkle to the exclusivity conversation is that it’s not just a case of PlayStation vs. Xbox any more. PC is no longer “neutral” in the platform conflict. Now that Epic Games has been using its Fortnite war chest to buy up exclusives left, right, and centre – and to give away a large catalogue of free games – the likes of The Division 2, Metro Exodus, and Borderlands 3 have become Epic Games Store exclusives.
While that has prompted anger from Steam devotees, the equation is fairly simple. Epic pays developers and publishers the same as their best estimate for Steam sales in the first year, which takes the pressure off with an up-front cash injection. They then get to crack on with developing video games without worrying about finances. This has been particularly important for small indie developers. Even with the most cynical head, funnelling money Epic wrings from children buying Fortnite cosmetics into the security of jobs and the further development of video games? That seems like a good thing.
One of the biggest successes for Epic thus far has been Remedy’s Control. The supernatural adventure (that may or may not be set in the same universe as Alan Wake) received glowing critical reception, including from our own Callum Williams, who praised the game’s innovative gameplay and creepy atmosphere, saying that “Control is yet another stellar addition to Remedy’s portfolio.”
And now we know how much Epic Games paid for the privilege.
According to a tweet from industry analyst Daniel Ahmad, Epic Games paid 9.49m (around £8.4m) for Control exclusivity. That information was gleaned from a financial report from Digital Bros, the Italian parent company of 505 Games, the publisher of Control.
Digital Bros, parent company of 505 Games, has disclosed that they received a payment of 9.49 million euro from Epic Games for Control.
Which I would imagine is for exclusivity.
55% of that payment going to 505 Games.
Report here: https://t.co/ocmbIQeOfJ
— Daniel Ahmad (@ZhugeEX) September 20, 2019
55% of that payment went to 505 Games, and presumably, the rest of that filtered upstream to Digital Bros. It’s unclear how much of that goes to Control’s developer, Remedy.
With a current store price of £48 for Control, that means Epic effectively paid for projected PC sales of 175,000 on Steam. What’s still unclear is if this arrangement functions like the advance on a book publishing deal, where Control only starts to earn sales royalties for 505 Games and Remedy after it recoups the original exclusivity payment, or if the exclusivity arrangement is all she wrote.
Still, with this report, we now understand the numbers behind the Epic Games Store a little better.