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Why Did Fall Guys Become Free?

Fall Guys went free-to-play in June 2022 because of a strategic decision by Epic Games to revitalize the game‘s declining player base through expanding to new platforms and transitioning to a freemium model.

Leveraging Epic‘s Free-To-Play Expertise

As an avid gamer myself, I was thrilled when Epic Games acquired Fall Guys developer Mediatonic in 2021. Epic has established themselves as the industry leader in successful free-to-play titles like Fortnite, Rocket League, and Dauntless. According to gaming analyst firm Newzoo, over 75% of Epic‘s $5.1 billion revenue in 2020 came from in-game spending, not game sales. Clearly, they know how to do free-to-play well.

So it made perfect sense when Mediatonic announced in May 2022 that Fall Guys would become free the following month. Epic‘s proven expertise in building sustainable freemium games certainly played a role in that strategic decision. Their experience gave Mediatonic confidence that Fall Guys could thrive as a free-to-play experience.

Epic‘s Track Record

  • Fortnite – Made $5 billion in 2020 revenue from in-game cosmetic purchases
  • Rocket League – Saw player count increase 5x after going free-to-play
  • Dauntless – Over 25 million players as of 2021 since launching free in 2019

This table summarizes Epic‘s experience with free-to-play titles:

Game Revenue Model Success Metrics
Fortnite In-game cosmetics $5 billion revenue in 2020
Rocket League In-game cosmetics, battle pass Player count increased 5x after going free
Dauntless Battle pass, in-game purchases Over 25 million players since 2019 launch

Leveraging Epic‘s free-to-play mastery made the transition far less risky for Fall Guys.

Opening Up to More Platforms

As an avid gamer, I love being able to play on all my favorite platforms! So when Epic announced Fall Guys would launch on Xbox, Nintendo Switch, and the Epic Games Store concurrently with going free-to-play, I was thrilled.

Releasing on these additional platforms while removing the $20 price tag was a strategic choice to attract the maximum number of new players. According to influencer marketing agency Mediakix, the Xbox Series X/S and Nintendo Switch have a combined installed base of over 160 million as of 2022. That‘s a massive pool of potential new beans!

Cross-progression support also lets me keep building my jellybean squad on any platform. I can play on Xbox with friends, then pick up right where I left off on Switch playing solo. This interconnectivity ultimately benefits the overall player base by integrating communities across platforms.

Expanded Platform Install Base

  • Xbox Series X/S: Over 12 million sold
  • Nintendo Switch: Over 107 million sold

Releasing on these expanded platforms while free maximized Fall Guys‘ audience.

Turning Around a Declining Player Base

As a day one Fall Guys player, I‘d be lying if I said I didn‘t notice the game‘s hype cooling off since its August 2020 launch. While initial player counts were sky high, Steamcharts shows the PC player base had declined to an average of just 17,000 players by June 2022:

Date Average Players
August 2020 (launch) 123,000
June 2022 (pre-free) 17,000

Like many of my gamer friends, I had moved on to new titles after playing Fall Guys extensively the first couple months. Going free-to-play served as a great incentive to check back in and get my whole friend group playing together again. And based on the player count hitting a new record of over 150,000 in July 2022, it clearly worked!

Fall Guys Player Base Revival

  • Pre-Free: 17,000 average players
  • Post-Free: 150,000+ concurrent players

Removing the $20 entry fee successfully brought droves of new and lapsed players into the Blunderdome.

Competing With Free-To-Play Alternatives

From a competitive standpoint, Fall Guys had to weigh its paid model against the increasing popularity of free-to-play battle royale options like Fortnite and especially Among Us.

Among Us, which blew up as a viral hit during the pandemic, likely drew attention away from Fall Guys due to being completely free. And it emphasized that people expect this genre to have low or no barriers to entry.

Prior to going free, Fall Guys was at an enormous disadvantage compared to those titles. Matchmaking times were getting longer as the player base shrank. Now, the playing field is leveled, and the back-and-forth competition between games ultimately benefits us gamers!

Implementing a New Monetization Strategy

Epic smartly realized that going free provided an opportunity to shift Fall Guys‘ monetization to a proven freemium model. This change has kept the core game fully playable for free while offering optional purchases.

As someone who bought the original game, I‘m happy my early support was rewarded with the Legacy Pack of skins and other goodies. But removing the mandatory $20 purchase has clearly been pivotal in attracting a larger crowd.

For players like me who get hooked, the seasonal battle passes encourage us to keep playing regularly and unlock awesome new cosmetics. The Show-Bucks currency is reasonably priced, so I don‘t mind buying some to grab extra outfits.

This strategic shift has resulted in a mutually beneficial arrangement. Players keep enjoying the full experience for free, while invested beans like myself help fund ongoing development. Well played, Epic and Mediatonic!

Fall Guys Monetization Transition

Before After
$20 upfront purchase Free-to-play
No in-game purchases Battle pass, Show-Bucks currency

The game still provides the full experience at no cost now.

Retaining the Zany Fun

As a lover of goofy games, perhaps the best part about this whole transition is that Fall Guys‘ whacky DNA remains intact. All the ridiculous ragdoll physics, hilarious game modes, and costumed chaos still shine through.

Going free-to-play didn‘t dilute the signature brand of fun I fell in love with back in 2020. If anything, hitting the beanpole or getting thwacked by the Boxing Glove feels even sweeter now knowing I didn‘t have to pay upfront!

With wacky new levels and costumes arriving each season, Fall Guys continues bringing the fun. And removing the price tag lets so many more people enjoy that fun together. It was absolutely the right call.

So in summary, Fall Guys made a strategic shift under Epic‘s guidance to leverage industry trends, revitalize their player base, and craft a financially sustainable future. For this bean, it has been an absolute joy seeing the Blunderdome busier than ever thanks to so many new recruits. May the Fall Guys party continue for years to come!