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Epic's "fully loaded" Borderlands 3 deal cost $146m, secured six months of PC exclusivity

Charge up.

We know Epic is burning through hundreds of millions of dollars trying to get its store off the ground. Thanks to its ongoing trial with Apple, we now know just how much is changing hands for some of the big games.

A document released as part of the trial, tweeted by GameDiscoverCo founder Simon Carless, shows Epic paid $146m in advances to secure six months of PC Borderlands 3 exclusivity from 13 September 2019.

The eye-catching deal ensured Gearbox's shooter did not launch on rival PC platform Steam until 13th March 2020.

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Digging into the detail, Epic paid $115m for the Borderlands 3 deal. This included a minimum guarantee of $80m, a marketing commitment of $15m, and a one-off fee of $20m.

Also included are "bundled 2K deals". This involves money paid to release a couple of 2K games on the Epic Games Store for free. As part of this, Epic paid $11m for the Borderlands: The Handsome Collection, and $20m for Civilization 6. That's a total of $31m.

So, the "fully loaded Borderlands 3 deal", as it's called in the document, amounts to $146m.

Was it worth it for Epic? According to the document, 100 percent of the $80m minimum guarantee was recouped within just two weeks, with $100m generated in a fortnight. In the first two weeks, Epic made $9.2m from Borderlands 3, based on its 12 percent cut. Borderlands 3 achieved just over 1.5 million users on the store within that timeframe. Crucially for Epic, 53 percent of those users were new to the Epic Games Store.

Last month, court documents published as part of Epic's high-profile legal battle against Apple revealed Epic committed $444m in minimum guarantees for 2020 alone.

A minimum guarantee is an advance paid to a publisher or developer whether or not the game itself makes enough money to claw the advance back. An example is the €9.49m 505 parent company Digital Bros received from Epic for PC exclusivity for Remedy's Control.

Currently, the Epic Games Store loses money. "EGS is not yet profitable at its current scale and stage of development because it has front-loaded its marketing and user-acquisition costs to gain market share," Epic has said.

During the opening day of the trial, Sweeney said Epic's store is "hundreds of millions of dollars short of being profitable".

"We have a general expectation of becoming profitable within three or four years," he added.

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