Marketplace content cooked and distributed from within our game - License Question

I can not find an answer to this question anywhere, no I’m not looking for legal advice I’m simply trying to find an answer to this question and have not been able to find it addressed in the license agreement. Our game pays a 5% royalty to Epic on sales, our engine is integrated in to Unreal Engine. I can buy a marketplace pack such as a city and with a little effort on my side make those pieces available to build with in my game editor as “cooked content”, meaning the end user has no access to any of the files it exactly like planet coaster, you buy the ghostbuster DLC you get to build with the ghostbuster pieces , buy you never have access to the uncooked files.

If I sell my game for 50.00 I can include all the content I want and let users build away. What if I instead decide to sell my game for 20.00 and then sell each content pack for 5.00 within my game for users to expand what they want to build, just like Planet Coaster. Am I still within the license agreement since files are cooked and only available in my game? Also I’m not simply buying the content and reselling I’m having to do several steps to integrate those in to my game editor for use by the end users.

Any advice or thoughts on this would be much appreciated, I’m about to pull my hair out trying to find information on this.

Hey RickSnowman!

That’s something you’re going to need to reach out to Marketplace Support for I think because it’s a pretty thin line between selling something cooked, but also technically reselling content packs that someone else made as a standalone. The issue being you’re making it the focus of something being sold. When it’s just a part of your game, that’s fine. However by making it the sole focus of an addon pack, that’s quite a different thing.

To give an example, Marketplace sellers can use Epic Games (such as Paragon assets) content in our products for the purpose of demonstration, so long as it isn’t the focus of the product and doesn’t outnumber the non Epic content. However we can’t sell it if that’s the sole purpose of the product, or makes up the majority of the content being sold. Even if we modified it.

This is likely the answer you’re going to get from them, but either way you’re going to want to reach out to them just to be sure.

Great advice thank you SE_JonF. I’ve seen other posts on other forums that also mentioned probably can’t be sole focus of sale but must be part of the overall game so that would make sense and your explanation probably applies. I will try to reach out to them again on this. Much appreciated.

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Well some thoughts.

Epic distributes under what would be considered “fair use” licensing as to what they make available by various distribution systems like the marketplace is fair use as to the purpose of supporting the needs of the project. Purpose of use is the consideration tied into the rights of distribution, aka the right to copy, as to products Epic makes available via their store so has no other rights to negotiate variations of those rights.

In your example your are referring to repackaging assets for the purpose of resale which is not bound to your product as a necessary component as to the required function of your game even though it’s cooked content as being a DLC.

We could pick at it but Epic does not have the rights to extend fair use for the purpose of the creation of DLC and I could provided examples at the risk of writing a book but in fact the deal you need to be making is “not” with Epic but rather the content creator as to fair use licensing of “their” content as a “different” form of distribution. More or less your issue is one of distribution and not of licensing in general and going to the creator your bypassing the middle man.

So my answer is why would you want to go to Epic to source DLC assets when you could purchase assets at wholesale? :slight_smile:

Other consideration in general.

Licensing wise all things Epic is fair use as long as it’s supports Unreal Engine projects as for example.

But as a new thing asset flips are frowned upon.

Hi FrankieV, thank you for this information. One question, when you say go to the creator - is that to obtain the same pack outside of the marketplace or to simply get their permission to sell as stated above, possibly with a royalty? Regardless of which route we go we will still will be paying epic based on sales (not a concern and want to stat we are not trying to avoid those 5% fees) just trying to understand how working with a creator directly works to our advantage?

The thing to keep in mind doing DLC is not worth the effort until you established a player base in which you already sold your game to.

First DLCs are looked on by players as a money grab. They are not a bad thing, if done right, but you will face blow back as to why some asset’s were not included with the game in the first place no matter the selling price.

The other consideration is there are two ways to deliver content.

  1. In app micro purchases
  2. Store front purchases.

Using in app you can provide low cost assets bypassing royalty and distribution fees where the profit margins would be high enough to make the effort worth while “after” you have established your market base as to the number of versions of the game you have sold.

Providing game assets via store front would cut deep into the profit margins to the point where you could land up owing money rather then increasing the profitability of the game as a product. Each version sold of the game you will own Epic 5% as well as, I believe, 12% delivery fee and any tax based on the country you live in. Toss in the hidden costs net profits are not as high as you might think they are based on the price tag as to in hand costs.

Hard enough to stand on it’s own yet having to deal with per unit payouts as an ongoing cost.

That said your idea of sourcing your DLC via store front purchases is just a bad idea overall if your desire is to increase the profit margin of the game as a stand alone product. Over the counter the artist will require a per-unit fee ongoing and not a one time royalty fee as a fixed cost. Merchants will see it as just a repackaging job that is profiting from “their” asset as a product.

Still interested in DLC? Develop your player base first then hire a content team on a for-hire contract and sell hats for a buck each. Assets that support game play save for the next version of the game so you don’t have to debase the selling price, if you do have sales at the $50 dollar price point, and then discount once the shelf life dies.

Enough said but marketing is a different animal as to the development of the game where money is the driving factor and not the glitz and cool factor which is the nature of making a game. If your not paying attention to the bottom line you could land up owing money instead of making big bucks as suggested in general.

I appreciate all the insight and knowledge you took the time to share here. I’m sure this will helpful to others like myself who are searching for similiar info as I could not find these answers prior. You have much knowledge in this area, we are about two weeks out from having to make a decision around much of what you mentioned here.