Unlike Fortnite, the Epic Games Store seems to be losing money for its operator. According to Epic Games CEO Tim Sweeney, the digital storefront is "hundreds of millions of dollars short of being profitable."
According to Sweeney's testimony from the Epic Games Vs. Apple trial, the company's digital platform will be in the green "within three or four years." Additionally, the Washington Post reported that a document entered into evidence for the trial showed that the Epic Games Store required a $359 million investment from Epic Games from the year following its launch. According to another document given to the court on April 8, Epic expects the Epic Games Store to begin turning a profit for the company in 2023.
The Epic Games Store launched in 2018, moving into a market dominated by other digital game retailers. By that time, Valve's own digital storefront, Steam, had been in operation for 15 years and held an enormous share of the PC gaming market. The Epic Games Store also had to compete with other smaller digital gaming storefronts from game developers and publishers, like Ubisoft's Uplay and CD Projekt Red's GOG.
Epic's digital storefront has distinguished itself from its biggest competitor, Steam, by taking a reduced commission from developers. Valve takes a 30% commission from game purchases on Steam, while Epic only takes 12%.
While the Epic Games Store has been able to carve a slice of the PC gaming market out for itself, mainly thanks to its weekly free game offerings and Fortnite's exclusivity to the storefront on PC, it still hasn't turned a profit for Epic Games. Epic also recently revealed that keeping games exclusive to the Epic Games Store has lost it around $300 million. Sweeney later took to Twitter to say that those costs have been a worthwhile "investment into growing the business!"
The Epic Games Vs. Apple trial is continuing today and likely will continue through the next three weeks. The trial is open for the public to listen in on. However, issues with attendees not having their microphones muted led to a number of children yelling "free Fortnite."