On the same day that the Fortnite Epic Games maker took to court with one of the biggest legal challenges facing the App Store business model to date, it simultaneously announced the acquisition of the ArtStation artist portfolio community – and immediately cut sales commissions. . ArtStation standard creators will now see the same 12% commission found in Epic’s own PC gaming store, instead of 30% as before. This reduced rate is intended to serve as an example to the wider community of what a “reasonable” commission should look like. This could become a comparison point with the Apple App Store’s 30% commission for larger developers like Epic while the lawsuit is pending.
Today, ArtStation offers a place for game, media and entertainment creators to showcase their work and find new jobs. The company has a long relationship with Epic Games, as many ArtStation creators work with Epic̵
The acquisition will not change that, the team said in a statement. Instead, the deal will expand the creators’ ability to monetize their work. The most remarkable thing is that this includes a reduction in commission. For standard creators, fees will drop from 30% to 12%. For Pro members (who pay $ 9.95 / month for a subscription) the commission goes even lower – from 20% to 8%. And for self-promoted sales fees will be only 5%. ArtEngine’s video streaming service, ArtStation Learning, will also be free until the end of 2021, the company said.
However, the reduced commission is perhaps the most important change Epic is making in ArtStation because it gives Epic a concrete example of how it treats its own community of creators. He will likely refer to the acquisition and changes in commission during the trial period with Apple, along with his own Epic Games Store and a similarly low rate. Epic’s move has already prompted Microsoft to reduce the decline in game sales, recently announcing a similar drop from 30% to 12%.
In the process, Epic Games will try to argue that Apple has a monopoly on the iOS app ecosystem and abuse its market power to force developers to use Apple’s payment systems and pay commissions for sales and purchases in apps that flow through these systems. Epic Games, like several other major app makers, prefer to use their own payment systems to avoid commission – or at least be able to direct users to a website where they can pay directly. But Apple does not allow this, according to its guidelines for the App Store.
Last year, Epic Games sparked the expulsion of Fortnite’s App Store by introducing a new direct way to pay for mobile devices that offered a steep discount. It was a calculated move. As a result, both Apple and Google immediately banned the game for violating their respective app store policies. And then Epic judges.
While Epic’s struggle is technically with both Apple and Google, it has focused most of its energy on the former, as Android devices allow side-loading apps (a tool for directly installing apps), and Apple doesn’t .
Apple’s argument, meanwhile, is that Epic Games agrees to Apple’s terms and conditions and then deliberately violates them in an attempt to get a special deal. But Apple says the guidelines apply equally to all developers, and Epic is no exception.
However, during the US antitrust investigation of large technologies, it was found that Apple has actually made special deals in the past. Emails shared by the Chamber of Justice’s Judicial Commission as part of an investigation reveal that Apple agreed to a 15% commission on Amazon’s Prime Video app in the beginning, when subscription video apps typically accounted for 30% in the first year, then 15 % in the second year and beyond. (Apple says Amazon just ranked for a new program.) In addition, other older emails reveal that Apple has had several discussions about raising commissions, even higher than 30%, indicating that Apple believes that the percentage of his commissions has some flexibility.
Prior to today’s acquisition of Epic Games, ArtStation received a Megagrant from Epic during the height of the pandemic to help it through an uncertain period. This may have prompted the two companies to discuss deeper ties ahead.
“Over the past seven years, we’ve worked hard to give creators the opportunity to present their work, connect with opportunities and make a living doing what they love,” said Leonard Theo, CEO and co-founder of ArtStation, in statement. “As part of Epic, we will be able to develop this mission and bring it back to the community in ways we failed to do on our own, while retaining the name and spirit of ArtStation.”