Epic are launching Fortnite Crew on 2nd December just ahead of the start of Fortnite Chapter 2 Season 5. It’s a monthly subscription that bundles together each season’s Battle Pass, 1,000 V-Bucks per month and a monthly Outfit Bundle that will be exclusive to subscribers.
The bundle will cost £9.99 / $11.99 / €11.99 per month, so a few pennies shy of £120 across a whole year, though you can stop and resume whenever you wish without losing access to anything you’ve paid for at that point.
That does leave a question mark over its comparative value. 1,000 V-Bucks is now sold for £6.49 after Epic gave a permanent 20% price cut on all platforms except iOS and the Google Play Store – we’ll come back to this point – and a battle pass costs 950 V-Bucks, with a new season coming along roughly every 3 months. Since you can earn the value of a Battle Pass through its reward chain each season, that’s potentially an extra 4,000 V-Bucks for players to spend.
A little napkin math puts the battle pass and monthly V-Bucks at a value of £102.54.
The real value for players will come through the monthly Outfit Bundle, though. Epic state that these are only for subscribers and “will never be sold or given away to non-Crew members.” That will be particularly alluring for fans when skins in the Items store cost 800, 1,200, 1,500 or 2,000 V-Bucks depending on how highly Epic decide to rate their rarity.
While securing a steadier stream of income from their fanbase is obviously Epic’s primary motivation here, this could also be a long term backup plan for if their lawsuit against Apple over iOS App Store payments doesn’t go their way. Epic have railed against the 30% fee that Apple charge over individual in-app payments, and so decided to implement their own payment method to reduce the costs to them of each purchase of V-Bucks. That was a calculated move to get themselves booted off the App Store and Google Play Store and set up a pair of lawsuits.
However, not everyone is subject to the 30% fee on the App Store. Apple sought to appeal to magazines and other subscription services by reducing their fee to 15% for subscribers after the first year. With a subscription to offer, Epic could reduce the overhead for some of their players while not infringing the terms that developers are subject to.
Epic have so far refused to make the simple revisions to their iOS and Google Play Android app to deactivate the direct payment option (though continued to blame Apple and Google for something that the Courts have said is in their control), cutting off those players from the most recent content – Season 4 was all based around Marvel characters – could we be seeing the company deciding to take a half-step back from the brink?
Source: press release