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Borderlands 3 exclusivity cost Epic $115 million

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The Epic v Apple lawsuit that began this week has given us an impressive collection of corporate documents to sift through, almost like some kind of box containing loot. Within a review of performance and strategy dated October 25, 2019, there's a section on the Borderlands 3 deal, disclosing that the looter-shooter's six-month exclusivity period cost Epic $115 million.

That includes a $15 million marketing commitment, $20 million in non-recoupable fees, and an $80 million minimum guarantee—an advance paid ahead of the game going on sale. Borderlands 3 sold well enough to reach that guarantee within two weeks, with a recoupable revenue of $100 million in the period. A graph of the Epic store's daily revenue across its first 11 months peaks dramatically with its launch. Of the 1.56 million Borderlands players Epic picked up in those two weeks, 53% were apparently new to the store rather than returning customers. 

(Image credit: Epic)

The document also shows that Epic paid $11 million for its free giveaway of the Handsome Collection, a bundle containing Borderlands 2, the Pre-Sequel, and most of their DLC (excluding Commander Lilith & the Fight for Sanctuary, released after the collection was created). That one freebie cost almost as much as Epic spent on the first nine months of giveaways, which it paid more than $11 million for.

Among the other revelations the court case has brought, we learned that Epic has spent at least $1 billion on exclusives so far, Tim Sweeney apologized to Ubisoft for the amount of fraud related to The Division 2 on Epic's store, and if you don't check the settings on your conference call you might end up with a bunch of Fortnite kids going nuts in a court case.

Jody Macgregor

Jody's first computer was a Commodore 64, so he remembers having to use a code wheel to play Pool of Radiance. A former music journalist who interviewed everyone from Giorgio Moroder to Trent Reznor, Jody also co-hosted Australia's first radio show about videogames, Zed Games. He's written for Rock Paper Shotgun, The Big Issue, GamesRadar, Zam, Glixel, and Playboy.com, whose cheques with the bunny logo made for fun conversations at the bank. Jody's first article for PC Gamer was published in 2015, he edited PC Gamer Indie from 2017 to 2018, and actually did play every Warhammer videogame.