The news came as Epic presented its usual 'year in review' summarizing how the store did in 2021, and of course, giving us a taste of what's to come this year – and that will certainly be a lot more free games, delivered on a regular basis as has been the case this past couple of years.
As PC Gamer reports, Epic said: "We're excited to confirm that weekly Free Games will continue in 2022."
Short and sweet, for sure, but the confirmation will put to rest any doubts, if anyone had them, that this practice might be stopped any time soon.
What else can we expect from Epic this year? The firm promises it'll push forward with the launcher app to make it perform better and fire up faster, alongside work on enabling users to better organize their games library and downloads.
Also, we're looking at social features including "voice on platform with game agnostic parties", backed up with work on beefing up community engagement aspects with user ratings for games and polls.
Epic also said that a "number of huge games will be coming out on Epic Games Store in 2022" which includes the likes of Dying Light 2, Stalker 2, Rainbow Six Extraction and more.
As for the stats from 2021, Epic notes that it now has 194 million gamers with accounts, and 917 games on the store – almost double the amount present at the end of 2020. Spending on the Epic Games Store hit $840 million (around £630 million, AU$1.2 billion) in 2021, but only 36% of that was on third-party titles (meaning the majority went on Epic's own games, principally Fortnite stuff).
Analysis: How many free games were grabbed – and at what cost to Epic?
The news that free games will keep being deployed as tempters to sign up to the store – and stay engaged once there – is no real surprise, though there may be folks wondering just how long Epic can continue to fork out big bucks for some of the huge titles it secures as freebies. Remember in 2021 we saw the likes of Control , NBA 2K21, Dead by Daylight, Rage 2, and Sonic Mania, plus the year before, GTA V no less, and Total War Saga: Troy (which was free on its release), not forgetting Kingdom Come: Deliverance.
Epic notes that it gave away more than 765 million free games in total throughout 2021. That's a whole lot of gaming hours at no cost, no doubt; no cost to players, that is, but of course, there is a cost to Epic as mentioned. As we've seen with past leakage , for the juicier titles, it's not uncommon for Epic to fork out over a million bucks, and the real biggies like Control and GTA V must've taken a big chunk out of the company's (admittedly stuffed) coffers.
At any rate, we'll see many more freebies forthcoming, and the tinkering with the games library and download management is much-needed, and certainly welcome – as well as the additional social features. These should help Epic establish the store more firmly in its own right, even if arguably the former management capabilities should've been something that was a priority before now.
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