Epic Games extends giveaways through 2020, reveals 2019 patterns

Epic Games is able to underwrite the Epic Games Store thanks to the enormous successes of 'Fortnite' (pictured).

The company behind "Fortnite" will continue giving away computer games on a weekly basis this year.

Having distributed 73 free games to date, the Epic Games Store is to continue its policy in 2020.

It opened the Epic Games Store in December 2018 and promptly initiated a program of regular giveaways to attract visitors to its site and sign-ups to its store platform.

The scheme began with "Subnautica" midway through December 2018 and has included a range of titles from indie developers and big studios, from action games to more reflective adventures such as the "Batman: Arkham Collection," "Celeste," "Enter the Gungeon," "What Remains of Edith Finch," "Abzu" and "Hello Neighbor."

It was initially presented as a promotion for the year of 2019, but continues on January 16, 2020, with the acclaimed but relatively unknown "Horace."

"We're extending our weekly free game program throughout 2020. Every single week, come back to claim your game. Once claimed, it's yours to keep forever," reads Epic's January 14 announcement.

Epic Games has also pursued an exclusivity policy, forging publisher agreements that provide up-front payments and an envelope-pushing 12% store commission in return for becoming sole vendor for a period of time.

Separate from game giveaways, for which Epic reimburses developers, some $680m USD was spent by PC players in the Epic Games Store since inception.

Of that, $251m (36%) went on non-Epic games, i.e., titles other than its runaway smash "Fortnite," which is free to play but derives revenue from virtual currency and season pass systems.

(Epic also sells its game "Shadow Complex Remastered" and created mobile and computer game "Battle Breakers," free-to-play with in-app purchases.)

The service's most popular titles, other than "Fortnite," were "World War Z," "Satisfactory," "Dauntless" (which operates on a similar basis to "Fortnite"), "Untitled Goose Game," "The Outer Worlds," "Borderlands 3," "Metro Exodus," "The Division 2" and "Control," all of whose PC editions launched as Epic Games Store exclusives.

In terms of global reach, the USA provided 17.24% of the Store platform's playerbase in December 2019.

Russian players accounted for 10.15% of players, Chinese for 8.36%, Brazilians for 6.48%, Germans for 6.34% and French for 4.55%.

India was extremely underrepresented, given its complete absence from the top 20 and its status as the world's second most populous country, per mid-2019 figures from the UN.