Online video-game retailer Epic Games Inc., which owns global hit game Fortnite, is now a case study at Harvard Business School. Its responsibility for the most popular game in the world makes it an ideal target for analysis, especially since Fortnite earned an estimated $2.4 billion last year.
The Harvard case study focuses on Epic Games’ online store introduced in December. This new online marketplace promises game developers a higher percentage of their game’s revenue, making Epic Games a strong competitor for other retailers like Valve Corp.’s “Steam.”
The study examines the entire history of Epic Games, starting from its creation in 1991 by computer programmer Tim Sweeney. Epic Games moved on to release hit games Gears of War, then Fortnite in 2017, which made a huge impact on the video-game industry. Fortnite is playable on game consoles and smartphones alike, and even though it’s a free game, it’s raked in profits, raising $1.25 billion from investors last year alone.
The case study was prepared by Andy Wu, assistant professor of business administration at Harvard, and Christopher Zhang, a recent graduate of Swarthmore College. It asks if Epic Games is wise to pursue becoming its own platform when its products like Fortnite are already so lucrative.
“Was it sensible to do both?” the study wonders. It was written based on already published sources and did not involve the company at all. A spokesman for Epic Games told Bloomberg Sweeney has no current plans to speak at Harvard.
Still, this case study marks the beginning of a new era of business study. Video games, streaming and other online products are taking over, and a prestigious business school like Harvard is keeping up.