Epic Games’ most prominent title, Fortnite, has been very popular in the gaming community since 2017 because, unlike other shooters of the time, which primarily focused on gunplay, Fortnite created a twist in its gameplay, allowing players to build during gunfights. After Recent Decisions, Epic Games Is Digging Its Own Grave.
This change made the gameplay feel fresh, exciting, and a new experience, giving it a massive boost in popularity. As Battle Royales rose in popularity, Fortnite was given a golden opportunity to grow in the eyes of the masses, and it was not wasted.
Epic Games Current Situation:
In 2023, Fortnite is gradually falling in popularity as the building mechanics are slowly starting to feel old, becoming unable to capture people’s attention, and the fact that the game is not new-player friendly is not good either.
Fortnite is Epic Games’ most significant source of revenue, which has made them over $26 Billion. With the price increase of VBucks, the fall of Fortnite is readily being fuelled with fewer chances for the game’s revival. This move can prove fatal and threaten to defame Epic Games even further in the eyes of the gaming community as they claim the company’s game store is anti-consumer (favorable to business people only).
Here’s how the prices will be reflected going forward:
- 1,000 V-Bucks – $8.99 (currently $7.99)
- 2,800 V-Bucks – $22.99 (currently $19.99)
- 5,000 V-bucks – $36.99 (currently $31.99)
- 13,500 V-bucks- $89.99 (currently $79.99)
As if more was needed, Epic Games is reportedly laying off 16% of its workforce, which is around 900 employees. The news comes via Bloomberg, with a person familiar with the matter stating that an internal announcement of the job cuts was sent out in a staff memo.
CEO Tim Sweeney stated in the memo, “For a while now, we’ve been spending way more money than we earn. I had long been optimistic that we could power through this transition without layoffs, but in retrospect, I see this was unrealistic.”
That said, one of the staff members affected was Ed Fear, director and writer at Mediatonic, who worked on titles such as Murder by Numbers. Mediatonic was founded in 2005 and was acquired by Epic Games in 2021.
A total of 870 employees will be affected, and Tim Sweeney states that no more job cuts are being planned beyond this. Around two-thirds of the reductions are within teams outside Epic’s ‘core development.’
In December 2022, a post on the official FTC website was uploaded in which Epic Games was given a $275 million penalty for violating children’s privacy law, along with $245 million worth of refunds for tricking users into making unwanted purchases.
The FTC alleged that Epic Games “deployed design tricks to dupe millions of players into making unintentional purchases.” This penalty was the largest ever obtained for violating an FTC rule, and “Epic Games was forced to adopt strong privacy settings for children and teens, ensuring in game voice and text communication between players were turned off by default”.
The statements made by Lina M. Khan, the Chair of the FTC, regarding the issue are as follows:
“According to our complaints, Epic employed default settings that infringed upon users’ privacy and utilized misleading interfaces, deceiving Fortnite players, some of whom were minors. The Commission’s primary aim is to safeguard the public, particularly children, against online privacy breaches and unethical design patterns. These legal actions serve as a reminder to businesses that the FTC is taking a tough stance against these illegal practices“.
This incident ruined the reputation of Epic Games in my eyes, as well as millions of other players. One player even expressed their complaints about Epic Games Launcher:
“Main issue being the forced exclusive deals and robbing us customers the options to choose to buy from other stores. Epic is also trying to create monopoly on PC by restricting / preventing other official stores from competing and selling those games on their stores and any third party sites related to those stores, which paves way for prices manipulation. They’re also implementing all kinds of anti-consumer policies on their stores and imposing them on customers.“
Recent developments and decisions have clouded the future of Fortnite, dimming its once-bright reputation in the gaming world. Epic Games stands at a pivotal crossroads, navigating obstacles that could heavily impact its flagship game and its standing among gamers. The journey ahead is filled with obscurity, and only with patience will it become clear if Epic Games can rectify its relationships with its player base.