The billion-dollar gaming powerhouse behind 'Fortnite' is taking on Microsoft, Sony, and Nintendo with a new publishing division

Fortnite at E3 2018

Ben Gilbert / Business Insider

  • The North Carolina-based gaming powerhouse behind "Fortnite" is launching a huge new venture.
  • Epic Games Publishing is a new initiative the company announced on Thursday morning: "A new multiplatform publishing effort with a developer-first approach," the company said in the announcement.
  • The move puts Epic Games in direct competition with game publishing heavyweights, including Sony, Microsoft, Nintendo, EA, and Activision.
  • Visit Business Insider's homepage for more stories.

The gaming powerhouse behind "Fortnite," Epic Games, is launching a massive new venture that will pit it against the game industry's biggest players: Nintendo, Sony, Microsoft, EA, and Activision.

The new division is known as Epic Games Publishing, and the company heralded it as, "a new multiplatform publishing effort with a developer-first approach." The big takeaway there is that Epic is looking to publish games on platforms other than its own PC storefront, and "multiplatform" implies console, mobile, and PC.

Epic is setting some standards up front with its publishing division - standards that are sure to shake up industry precedents:

  1. "Full creative freedom and ownership. Developers retain 100% of all intellectual property and full creative control of their work.
  2. Fully-funded projects. Epic Games Publishing will cover up to 100% of development costs, from developer salaries to go-to-market expenses such as QA, localization, marketing, and all publishing costs.
  3. 50/50 profit sharing. Developers earn a fair share for their work -- once costs are recouped, developers earn at least 50% of all profits."

To start, Epic is working with three major indie developers: Playdead ("Limbo," "Inside"), gen Design ("Ico," "Shadow of the Colossus," and "The Last Guardian"), and Remedy Games ("Alan Wake," "Max Payne," and "Control").

tim sweeney epic games fortnite

Mike Coppola/Getty Images

Epic Games cofounder and head Tim Sweeney.

Beyond "Fortnite," which rakes in billions of dollars annually, Epic Games has major stakes in other sectors of the game industry.

It produces Unreal Engine, a critical software suite that's used to build games; and it runs the Epic Games Store, an insurgent digital marketplace for gaming that has aggressively pushed back against the 800-lb. gorilla that is Valve's Steam service.

In short: The move into game funding and publishing games is Epic's latest venture into another core sector of the video game business.

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