Selling content that is on the marketplace - just cheaper


This is something i have been pondering about for some time now.
There are items on the marketplace i see that in my personal opinion is extremely over priced. I was wondering if the community would have issues if someone… for example me, make the same content, but only see it for less.

Lets say there is a certain system that is being sold for $125. And i make the same system but put it up for $20.
Would this be unethical? Or stepping on toes?

Because truthfully… i believe the only reason some of the things are so overpriced is due to lack of competition.

I would personally find that to be extremely unethical, and I wouldn’t accept anything built for that reason. If you’re going to build something, build it to fill a need and do it really well because people want it. Don’t do it just to build knockoff products to undercut people that work hard. That’s not competition.

If you think the prices are too high, contact the creator and talk about it. Maybe they’ll listen, maybe they won’t, but if you’re a potential paying customer, getting input like that is really important and valuable.

I’d suggest though that you are cautious in how steeply you choose to undercut. The economics of price points aren’t always as obvious as it seems at first and it’s very very easy to create a situation that’s unsustainable, not only for you but for other members of the marketplace. We saw this all the time when I was doing strategy for an ecommerce company - competitors would come into the market without a proper understanding of the costs they would incur (in cash or in time) and would underprice themselves and go cashflow negative within weeks and disappear.

There’s also some interesting consumer behaviour around pricing things too low. If your version of the product is too much lower than the competition many potential customers will assume it is of lower quality and choose to buy the more expensive option.

There’s probably some price inflation due to lack of competition, but it’s probably not as much as you think. For one thing, we don’t know the numbers in terms of how much things are selling. It’s not a massive community so it’s very possible people aren’t selling hundreds or even dozens of units. 125 dollars seems like a lot till you figure out how much time it would take to create those assets, then divide that by the number of units sold. It’s entirely possible that the hourly rate that you get is pretty low. Again, I don’t have the numbers so this is just a general thought. This will also change as more people adopt the engine and more sellers get solid numbers so they can more accurately amortize the time invested when they price product.

To be clear: I don’t have any items on the marketplace so I don’t really have any skin in the game, these are just some observations I’ve made over time.

Edit: I’m also a big fan of being creative and making unique content vs. ‘me too’ clones. I think the mobile app stores are a great example of the downfall of simply cloning existing content. It’s a huge pain for consumers to find what they want because the market is flooded with cheap knockoffs.

I understand your point of view. But in all fairness it is technically built to fill a need. The intention would not be to deliberately undercut other developers but provide foundations of some systems at an affordable price. Bridging the gap between a $125 product that gives you a full set of functionality, to a $25 product that gives you the foundation of the system.

For example the ledge climbing system that is available.
It contains a lot of functions that makes life easy. And everything is done already.

But if there was a smaller version available that laid out the ground foundation leaving you with only a few hours of additional development time to get it up to the same level then surely the unethical factor becomes less of a concern as you are not creating knock offs but instead giving people the opportunity to buy similar products at more affordable prices. Technically it would also then no longer be considered undercutting someone.

So I am not talking about creating identical knockoffs but instead about targeting the gap i see in the marketplace.

The price of some of the assets have had some heated debates on the forums. And truthfully the argument i sided with that the artists who created something should charge what they feel it is worth. That’s fine. And there really is no point in complaining about over priced products. But the only solution to the problem is to then create similar systems and sell it for the price i feel would be more applicable. Taking into consideration as mentioned to not cut prices so low that it would end up hurting not only myself but the marketplace as a whole.

And i’m not deliberately picking on the ledge climbing system but its the only point of reference i have to make a valid argument. It took me 3 - 5 hours to create a ledge climbing system that works. It then took me another day to fix bugs and add additional functionality. This was on par with the initial release state of the one available on the marketplace.

Worth $125? Perhaps to that specific developer. To me? No way. At 2 days worth of development time it would be the price if i was to sell sole ownership of the system. Not if i was intending to sell it to the masses.
Which is why i feel there really is a strong argument to address the massive gap of pricing i see on the marketplace. (PS the current ledge climbing system on the marketplace is pretty awesome and big thumbs to the developer… im not picking on you i promise)

Its an opportunity to make money not by ripping off other developers, but by catering for a realistic market.
It just makes more business sense to approach it this way than to pocket on the notion that nothing else is available. I am not sure how long it took some developers to create some systems. But in all honesty some of things available there are no more than a days work priced at sole ownership prices.

I am not saying this is what i am going to do. I am trying to understand how Epic and the community feels about this. If it will aggravate too many people then i wont consider it further. But i need to eat and i do see an opportunity here.

Would it be unethical? Yes. Would it be stepping on toes? You better believe it would be!

It’s for reasons like this that I am glad the marketplace is regulated. Thank you for being that guy.

And well said Hyperloop, you make some excellent points.

At the end of the day though, this is how a free market is supposed to work. Competition exists as so to benefit the consumer, without it you create an artificial monopoly.

Competition shouldn’t solely be undercutting just for the sake of undercutting. It should be in the quality of the product itself, which is how the consumer benefits as both parties will strive to outdo the other in terms of content excellence. In truth, undercutting is an inevitable race to the bottom between those who participate in that practice.

I agree with and crocopede. Prices will drop anyway. Unity marketplace is a great example. Only a matter of time.

I would rather competition compete with quality than price. When competition competes only on the premise of lower prices the quality WILL drop.

You can regulate quality, but you shouldn’t regulate prices.

It’s a tricky thing - I don’t believe people should be deliberately undercutting other developers, but if someone has a product that’s similar to an existing product, and wants to sell it cheaper, I don’t see why there should be artificial barriers in place to prevent that either. For things like blueprint systems and common assets, that’s where you start creating monopolies.

Okay, time to clarify some stuff.

  1. We don’t reject content simply because it’s similar to other content. We get a lot of similar content. When we QA it after submission and before Trello, we find out what it can do and if it’s of enough value to the Marketplace community based on how much it accomplishes above what UE4 offers natively as a baseline. If it’s above the minimum quality bar but still similar to other content, what I usually do is tell the submitter “Hey, we get a lot of stuff like this, and it might be hard to stand out on the public Trello boards. We think this is cool and it passes our quality checks, but you may have a hard time in public voting if you look too similar. Here are a couple things we see you doing that are especially cool that no one else is, and emphasizing that or building out this feature further could give you an edge with the public voting. If you don’t want to, that’s fine, but we see everything people are doing and this is something special you’re doing that no one else is that you can develop further if you want. Let us know what you’d like to do.”

If it’s similar to other content and gets rejected, it’s most often because someone took the very first tutorial in a series of Epic tutorials and tried to sell the end product of it. Other than meeting the quality bar, this is the single most common reason we reject content.

  1. Epic does not give input on pricing. Period. When I joined Epic, day one, that was the first thing they told me and that has never changed.

  2. We are strictly free market. If you don’t meet the quality bar or offer value in an objective (NOT comparative) sense, unfortunately we cannot accept your content. But if you do something awesome, it passes our QA test, and the public likes it, then you’re in. Full steam ahead. In our content reviews we actually get EXCITED about stuff people submit, and bounce ideas back and forth about how we’d use it in our own projects, or what kinds of games’ functionality or art it reminds us of. We get really excited about stuff, and we want to see people succeed, and we try to find every way we can to make that happen. But stuff’s gotta be good, stuff’s gotta work, and stuff’s gotta be useful. Our promise is that we will always try to be as open and clear about what will make it past the quality bar as possible, because our success literally depends on yours.

I’m happy to answer any questions I can about this.

On the flip side there is this thing called price fixing which in some countries is against the law.

Just saying…

I do think though per feature, aka simple wall jump, is an excellent idea and some products sold per item instead of having to buy the entire package. Weapon packages for example how many M4’s does on need?

Also I think this 5 items per package has to go to prevent padding out for quantity instead of quality.

Yes unfortunately there is that risk but technically that risk already exists. And truth be told Epic wont be able to do much about that, unless it can be proved that this was someone else work. Its mostly up to the community and to the people creating the content.

@ thank you for answering those.

Well another way of thinking about it is developer A puts up a product for $60 and after a few cycles finds it’s not selling well at that price and put’s it up for half price.

Is this under cutting?


Someone with Kung Fu skills can put together a product in a few days, assuming that is what the OP was referring to, as compared to someone who works for months on the same product idea but feels that their effort is not worth the cough cough set market price that they are not entitled to offer it at their fair market value?

The way I read the original OP is he feels he can offer an asset at what he feels is the true market value and I see nothing wrong with that considering there is already products at lower prices on the market place and a fair amout of under cutting already going on. That’s just the nature of the fair market

Free market all the way!
Personally I don’t see any problem in high prices - creators will lose more than you if price is not right. They spend a lot of their time to create content and if they fail to find a right price tag they won’t get paid for all this work.

I don’t like undercutting just for the sake of undercutting, but you’re definitely right about filling the gap. I’m pretty sure that Marketplace could contain more than 1 ledge systems and I can’t see anything wrong with that.

@Crocopede I like cheap things, when i can buy three things, instead of one, but.
If you dev something for 150$ you have few customers and can support well if you have bugs in your code, or any problems.
When you have 10times more customers, when you sell it for 15$, you have the same amount of money in your pocket, but it would be harder to support well.

Yes, some things are completely overpriced for me too. If there would be a cheaper hobbyist payoption, for playing around with the content, that would be nice.
If you release the project, you have to pay full price, but i think that is impossible to handle.
It would be to easy to rip it apart and declare it as your own.
Perhaps i would pay a monthly fee to get full acess to all MP-stuff.
But i think that “overpriced” thing has to do with a personal view of the things. Look in the “got talent” section, where you could get one gun for up to 3000$, thats only an option for real devs (aaa+++)with deep pockets, or ppl who only produce a nice looking demo, to scam money out of kickstarter-backers.

UE4 is a really great tool and, from hobbyist over indie to AAAdevs.
“Stepping on someones toes” is no reason to let things be, when you do a good job.
Aside that, i heard from ppl who had bought MP-assets way cheaper from ppl, who had already bought it at full price. Thats really unfair for me.
I play around with UE4 to wake some interest for my childs, with own created stuff, but aside poor 2D/3D i am lost.
I would like to see a section in the marketplace, where you can hire coders/artists easy on a fixed base(pay for a hour work, for example).
Beginner/indie/aaa+. Perhaps something like timesharing.

As I said above, Epic does not and has not ever given input on pricing.

With regards to the five items per pack rule, we’re always open to feedback on that. In the case of characters, we’re revisiting the requirement because characters are extremely labor-intensive and it doesn’t make a lot of sense to require five of them. In some cases we’ve made exceptions for when a single asset perfectly fulfills a vertical need, such as a weapon with first person arm animations, a scope, audio, bullets, etc.

As we’ve been getting more submissions and setting clearer standards of what constitutes “enough value,” we’re starting to move a bit more toward a rough equivalent instead of a specific number. For example, in that weapon example above, that really isn’t five unique assets, but it represents a big chunk of time savings for whoever purchases it. The overall definition is still fuzzy, but we’re working on it. One of the main things we’re trying to prevent is having a store full of 175,000 individual textures, or doorknobs, or rocks.

Also, we totally know what padding something out looks like, and we don’t play that game. :wink:

The way I read it originally was more like creating a cheap knockoff to cash in on someone else’s concept and work, but OP clarified away from that in subsequent posts. Part of the reason I interpreted that is that we reject a lot of content that’s literally a carbon copy of someone else’s work, or unmodified results of tutorials. We have ways of being able to tell. It happens a lot more often than you’d think.

I completely agree. I wouldn’t turn away content that’s similar if there’s a public interest and need for it. Like I said above, more often than not, we toss out ideas of cool ways to build on it and differentiate from what may be similar to help people do better. When content creators are willing to take suggestions and input from us, we do everything we can to make it easier for them to get on the Marketplace and to put a spotlight on their content and why it’s cool.

It all boils down to us wanting people to do the coolest things possible, helping how we can, and showing people what’s cool. And knockoff\counterfeit stuff is not in the cool spectrum. OP clarified that isn’t what he was suggesting, however.

I like this discussion!

See, that’s one of the things that’s really interesting to me about the way people price things. My entire career before coming to Epic was commissioning art content from artists and studios around the world, so I know how much these things cost and how long they take to do. I’ll see something like a vehicle pack for $100 and think “I’ve paid $15k for exactly that kind of thing before. Wow.” The economics are totally different, and it’s interesting seeing how the community is adapting and responding to it.

Can you email with more information on that, please? We take that sort of thing very seriously and I’d like to know more.

Could not agree more. I suspect most if not all items on the marketplace that seem overpriced to some would not seem that way once they try to replicate them from scratch by hand. The other thing I think people tend to forget is that most other digital marketplaces they interact with (Steam, Mobile app stores) have hundreds of thousands, or millions of customers in them which has a strong impact on driving the price point down based on volume.

slightly off topic i know but can epic please add the rating system to the launcher’s marketplace tab instead of having to go to the web page.