The other highlight note is that when Epic decided to shutdown Paragon, they opened up the refund offer for all purchases, not just really recent ones. They've taken essentially a complete loss on this entire project, that I believe had upwards of 100 developers working on it at one point.
But given Fortnite's success, plus the general solid padding of cash Epic always gets from having one of the most popular game engines that everyone else uses, means they can afford it.
It's a genius financial and strategical move, predicated by having a lucky monster success elsewhere in the company that required a quick influx of resources (Fortnite). They can effectively write off a failed game over the next 5 years, and reduce their tax burden as a result. They then act as a "benevolent" actor to the gaming development community by giving away assets that have no financial incentive to them. So they get a nice influx of resources and get to advertise to a new pool in the same breadth. That's a win-win.
EDIT: I should also note - I was a benefactor of shifting my payment from Paragon to Fortnite. Given that it had no variable cost to give me $20 worth of skins in Fortnite, that's a pretty solid user acquisition strategy.
Regardless of whatever financial or tax upside they get from doing this, the upside the game development community gets is the same.
They are doing something they really didn't need to do, and as GP pointed out, most companies don't do.
This is marketing for their game engine. They don't have to do it, sure. But SaaS companies don't have to provide free blogs, webinars and e-books either but we don't pretend they are benevolent for doing so.
Don't get me wrong. I think more art assets available in the game dev community is a good thing. I think more free stuff from one company (Epic in this case) will beget more free stuff from their competitors (Unity mainly). I'm just pointing out that this isn't free for the sake of being benevolent. It's free for the sake of capturing market share.
this seems like it could be a false dichotomy. it's not obvious why it can't be both.
That's not how this word works. We can use another one.
I hasten to add, again, that I'm attributing nothing pejorative. I'm glad Epic have done this. It's great marketing that may be helpful to lots of people.
If on the other hand they would release the assets without strings attached (for use with any game engine / in any way) then I'd say this word would apply.
Which faces _stiff_ competition against the Unity engine. Epic is the incumbent in the space and the success of Unity in the last several years must be a huge concern for Epic.
Epic has always been a game engine developer first and foremost, so anything to claw back market share from Unity is going to be a calculated strategic move on their part.
There was no requirement of giving away the assets in order to gain the tax benefits.
> most companies don't do.
Because most companies are for-profit entities. Most companies don't do this because they aren't in this specific situation. Most gaming companies have really delicate economics (high up front capital costs, with less than guaranteed returns).
Call me cynical all you want, but the idea that video gaming companies (of all industries) are somehow out to provide benevolently for it's software developing community is laughable at best (see EA, Ubisoft, Zynga etc). The video gaming market is rife with abusing long hours out of it's employees.
You're cherry picking a handful of awful companies for the sake of making a point about the entire industry.
Nobody said that video gaming companies "are somehow out to provide benevolently for it's software developing community."
If we were talking about Epic Games giving $100 to each American, that wouldn't follow either.
But if you can't acknowledge that some decisions are more well-meaning than others, you're just sour grapes.
Why do people always make this argument? Loss is loss. You're financially better off if you make money, even if you have to pay taxes on it.
Can someone explain?
Suppose that Epic made P income from Paragon and I income from everything else. They are taxed at T.
So if they return P to customers, that's a loss. So they will pay (I - P) * T in taxes and end up with (I - P) * (1 - T).
Suppose they kept P, that's gain. So they will pay (I + P) * T in taxes and end up with (I + P) * (1 - T).
So even though they pay less in taxes ((I - P) * T < (I + P) * T), they will end up with less money ((I - P) * (1 - T) < (I + P) * (1 - T)).
Basically, what it means is the following:
Year 1 - I spent $10M on Paragon (let's pretend I've made a single dollar from it). I therefore have negative -$10M in profit, so I pay zero taxes.
Year 2 - I shut Paragon down. I still have $10M in losses from Paragon. Fortnite does $30M in Revenue and it cost me $20M to build Fortnite in Year 2. Theoretically I profited $10M in year 2 and I'd have to pay ~30% (thats not the real number, so don't correct me) of that in taxes, so I really only get to keep $7M of that to reinvest.
But I get to carry my loss forward from Year 1 onwards. So in theory I get to keep more of my profit due to a smaller tax burden. Generally speaking this is usually done over 5 years. So I'd take $10M and amortize it $2M ever year. Meaning Year 2, instead of paying 30% of $10M, I would pay 30% of 8M, so $2.4M versus $3M. It's obviously way more complicated than this, but this is the gist.
I'm describing the tradeoff between intentionally taking the loss (i.e. allowing returns of the game) vs keeping the profits they've made.
They still have less money and it is in no way better than if Paragon had made a profit.
The "yeay it failed! we get a tax write-off" thing is stupid and wrong.
Or just old games in general. Many rewrites of old games are hampered by the lack of assets.
I particularly feel we need to clear up the copyright drama for abandoned works in particular, but there's a reasonable point that plenty of companies do continue to use and sell their game content for a very long time.
A failed project has very little value for the purposes of monetizing again later, you don't make a sequel to a game that you didn't make a profit on (usually). So it's a particularly good category to give away to the community.
It also helps that Fortnite is a massive success.
Not really, they're doing that on purpose to put everyone on Fortnite, it's a very different story.
A) Epic closes Paragon down
B) Epic opens Paragon assets
C) Epic deducts Paragon losses from their earnings, saving on federal taxes
D) Companies that build assets based on these assets do so while getting a nice taxpayer-enabled corporate welfare check.
Fornite BR is exploding in popularity, with Ninja recently streaming with Drake, Kim Dotcom and another popular rapper. They broken the all-time record with 620k+ viewers at 2am!
I'm sure their success facilitated the decision to release this for free and also give out refunds for Paragon. Win/win for them!
Are you talking about Fortnite in general, or the Battle Royale mode?
The weird thing is that my impression is that Fortnite was talked about for awhile as this Horde-mode construction game, sort of like minecraft meets L4D. Then the BR F2P mode was added and the whole thing blew up.
Summary of video games in the last 5 years.
H1Z1/Rust/etc are all a continuous survivalist game and other games were mostly mods.
I'm personally excited to see where Activision or EA take the genre (Blizzard too but I don't see that happening anytime soon).
I guess they can't complain about the success but it would have to feel at least a little bit demoralizing.
I just had the impression DOTA was made by some guy who wanted to make something like DOTA and Fortnite was made by some people who wanted to make some mix of L4D and Minecraft, but pivoted to doing something like PUBG instead.
As far as I know the regular mode is not free to play.
I only tried it because it was a free alternative to PUBG
Cartoony makes it fun in a way that realistic graphics based games just can't match because of the aesthetic. It begs a silly-ness to elements that make it enjoyable and Epic can refresh at will (player skins for St. Pattys day, hidden Llama's on the map, Chinese new year theme, etc.)
Cheating is also a major issue.
So it was a clone, but basically a better one than the original.
Fortnite is the first survivor game that just works.
I felt bad for PUBG first, but PUBG is still such a huge mess, I do have to give it to Epic for building an extremely solid game that runs well and isn't rife with cheaters.
Shame about the business model, though.
PUBG had made quite a bit of money for Epic, through the UE4 licencing fees. This is akin to Amazon noticing how much money you made them through AWS and deciding to offer a free (arguably better, although I've never played more than 5 minutes of Fortnite, too much cartoon!) version of your product.
TBH, that analogy may be a bit unfair, but Epic is no saint.
Amazon ALSO makes Amazon basics branded knock off of the popular physical items in store. There's an article about an aluminum laptop stand you might be able to Google for.
'You've raised my hopes and dashed them quite expertly, sir - bravo!'
> The assets, built at a cost of over $12 million...
It's a common mistake to assume that something is worth what it cost to create it.
No, that's the fallacy. The assets are only worth $12 million to Epic if Epic has a viable way to reap $12 million in benefit from them. The fact that it cost Epic $12 million to create the assets has nothing to do with it. That's just sunk cost.
this is really hard to quantify independently, and they can use this figure to inflate their losses to claim more taxation benefit than otherwise deserved.
Why can't i say that I "lost" 12million developing my indie game, and therefore, claim some taxes off my casual contract work?
This is pretty massive if it's really a no-strings-attached release of assets to the community but the skeptic in me says there's no way it's just that
Well nice of them to release the assets at least, I'm sure devs who are already committed to UE4 are pretty stoked.
Q: How much do I have pay for the Paragon assets?
A: Nothing! They’re completely free. You can use them in both commercial and non-commercial Unreal Engine 4 projects.
Q: Are there any restrictions on the use of the Paragon assets?
A: As with all of Epic’s internally developed assets, the Paragon assets are only licensed for use in Unreal Engine 4.
It was/is a bit taboo, but the gaming phenomena PUBG also used UE marketplace assets, although they added value by making an enjoyable game around it.
Like the (in)famous Grab That Auto https://youtu.be/yU6WC4dpaHM
looks like some stuff is on github:
So it's only for use in your UE4 project.
You might be able to shoehorn them into something else, but copyright wise you're not authorized to.
But the lane fighting genre has been all downhill since Monday Night Combat anyway, so I'm happy to ignore it :P
it can be possible to start from some raw assets when moving to another engine, but even then you may have, say, a character rig setup that's great in one engine but a huge pain in the ass in another.