Back in May, the Epic Games Store’s weekly giveaway was the best-selling game of the last decade and the most profitable media product of all time—GTA V. It might appear that most people already own Rockstar’s title, but the offer proved so popular that the store was overwhelmed with traffic, causing crashes and errors for those that could gain access.
GTA V was the first free game in Epic’s “user acquisition campaign” called The Vault. It was followed by three more huge titles: Civilization 6, Borderlands: The Handsome Collection, and Ark: Survival Evolved, each hidden behind the image of a vault door until the giveaways began.
Epic threw a lot of money into The Vault’s advertising budget, and it appears to have paid off. The Epic Games Store reached an average concurrent user count of 13 million, while its monthly active users topped 61 million.
"Since launching the Epic Games Store, we've always wanted to create a huge event around our very successful Free Games weekly program to give something awesome to players worldwide, and we decided to go big," said Steve Allison, Epic Games Store’s GM. "We invested in acquiring the rights to give four of the biggest games in the world away free.”
With the lockdowns leading to more people gaming, Steam saw its concurrent user record broken more than once during March. It now stands at 24.5 million, with monthly active users reaching almost 95 million last year. Epic might have some catching up to do, but after launching in December 2018, it has almost reached Steam’s off-peak concurrent user count (above).