Representatives from Epic and EA Games have been appearing in front of a Commons committee here in the U.K. and have already brought the lols with EA suggesting that loot boxes are actually ‘surprise mechanics’. Epic Games clearly decided EA wasn’t going to get all the good headlines by, amazingly, suggesting they don’t make any money from Fortnite.
“It’s always been our effort and intent to create a fun, fair, flexible, engaging and generous form of interactive entertainment. A statement that suggests it’s some sort of nefarious attempt to extract short-term profit is a mischaracterisation,” said Epic’s general counsel, Canon Pence.
Epic made $2.4bn from Fortnite during 2018, the most annual revenue of any game in history.
“I don’t think it’s accurate to define Epic as making money from people playing the game,” stated Canon Pence.
Well that’s interesting. Fortnite doesn’t make any profit? So they didn’t make $2.4bn? If that is true where the $100,000,000 the promised for prize funds for the game coming from? Someone is clearly fibbing and either it’s Epic’s accountants or their representative giving official statements to our government.
Fortunately, just for once, our MPs were on the ball and weren’t impressed by Epic’s answers, “You’re not a charity,” responded committee chair Damian Collins, Conservative MP for Folkestone and Hythe.
You could argue that Cannon Pence is technically correct, just playing the game doesn’t make Epic any cash, it’s the micro-transactions and season passes that bring in the cash. That said, the game is packed full of promotions, John Wick, the NFL, and Marshmello have all had in-game events and each of those will have been paid for by the respective company. On balance I think we can say that one way or another just playing Fortnite earns Epic lots of cash, if not through micro transactions then via the in-game adverts and events.
Epic went on to say that they don’t know how long people play Fortnite for or the average revenue they generate. Damian was having none of it, “This is a game which makes money out of people playing it and this sort of basic information is something that will be gathered and analysed all the time, so I don’t believe that you don’t know it.”
Labour MP Ian Lucas asked why the company does not collect the date of birth of each player, “You don’t think it’s necessary to abide by data regulations by establishing the age of the people who play your game?” Lucas asked.
“We don’t,” replied Pence. He later backtracked and suggested he did not say that, but the records confirmed he did.
Really concerning evidence from @EpicGames to our @commonscms this afternoon. No age verification system. No automated system to identify potential grooming of children on the chat rooms. No acceptance of any responsibility to have safeguarding measures in place.
— Jo Stevens (@JoStevensLabour) June 19, 2019
Source: The Guardian