Fortnite made an estimated $2.4 billion over the course of 2018, according to market research firm SuperData (via The Verge). That’s more than any other free-to-play game, they say, by over a billion dollars. The next closest game, League of Legends, made an estimated $1.4 billion, which is still an astronomical amount of money, but dang y’all — $2.4 billion.
How much money is $2.4 billion, really? Enormous numbers like that get thrown around all the time with corporations and governments — which, for the time travelers reading this, are still separate things as of right now — but without context $2.4 billion doesn’t really mean anything. So, as a little exercise, here’s some idealistic context.
Shelter Every Homeless Person in LA for Six Years
A June 2018 report from the Los Angeles Homeless Services Authority concluded that expanding LA’s shelter infrastructure to cover 100 percent of its homeless population would cost $657 million for the first year, and then $354 million a year afterwards.
For $2.4 billion, Los Angeles would be able to shelter all of its (approximately) 55,000 homeless people for six years. But Epic Games isn’t in Los Angeles, it’s in Cary, North Carolina. So what could $2.4 billion do closer to home?
Provide 23,465 Full-Ride Scholarships to the University of North Carolina
Tuition aggregator CollegeCalc estimates that a single year’s education at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill totaled $25,569 for in-state residents attending the 2017/2018 school year. This figure includes the cost of books, supplies, housing, and living expenses. Stretch that out to a four-year degree plan, and graduating from UNC works out to $102,276, based on current estimates.
Epic Games could fund the college careers of 23,465 North Carolina residents with the money it made off Fortnite in 2018 — books, dorms, apartments, food; everything. But what if Epic decided to spend that money on the people that made Fortnite what it is?
Give Every Epic Employee $3 Million
The math on this one is a little fuzzy, granted, since SuperData’s $2.4 billion estimate for 2018 is revenue, and not pure profit. Still, Epic Games is a studio of about 700 employees according to founder Tim Sweeney, which means that Epic could decide to give every employee a $3 million bonus, and still have $300 million in gross Fortnite earnings leftover.
Of course, that’s based on SuperData’s estimate of just Fortnite‘s revenue. Epic Games as a whole might have made as much as $3 billion in untouched profit during 2018, if a recent TechCrunch report proves right. If you’re an Epic employee and you’re reading this, I’d love to know what your holiday bonus looked like this year.
Become One Third of Epic Founder Tim Sweeney
Of course, if one were to simply keep $2.4 billion dollars, one would own but a third of the wealth estimated to belong to Epic Games founder Tim Sweeney. Bloomberg’s Billionaires Index places Sweeney’s net worth at $7.18 billion, with the majority of that valuation coming from Sweeney’s reported 44.7 percent ownership of Epic Games.
Sweeney’s liquid assets, comparatively, are estimated at a paltry $525 million, which is barely enough to pay 10,000 teachers the average North Carolina salary of $50,861/year. With numbers like that, you can forget about an invite to Jeff Bezos’ low-orbit gold eating parties. You might as well not even have money at that point!