ArtStation last week announced it’s been acquired by Epic Games. The website serves as a community for digital artists where they can share their portfolios and improve their craft with educational material. The popular community site will help Epic to promote its developer tools.
Product promotion — As part of the acquisition, ArtStation says that all of the learning material on the site will be free for the rest of 2021. For artists who sell work on the site, the commission ArtStation takes will fall to 12 percent.
ArtStation will continue to run independently from Epic, but it’s not hard to imagine that its new owner will try to create more tutorials that take advantage of its products. Epic has acquired many critical industry tools over the years, like Quixel and Hyprsense; even if a digital artist isn’t using the Unreal Engine, Epic’s most well-known product, they’re probably paying the company licensing fees for something.
Politicking — The news followed a lengthy day in court for Epic where its council is presenting arguments in the ugly legal battle it’s embroiled in against Apple. Epic is arguing that Apple exerts anti-competitive control over businesses that try to sell their products to iOS users by requiring all apps be sold through its App Store, where the company demands a 30 percent commission on sales.
Epic and its popular game Fortnite were booted from the App Store last year after the company tried to bypass Apple’s in-app payment system and avoid paying fees. Apple argues that Epic wouldn’t be successful without the App Store, and that its fees are reasonable to cover its costs to maintain the storefront. Epic in court today said that its 30 percent fee is disproportionate to its costs, and that enabled by its control of iOS, Apple simply charges high fees to make more money.
Ultimately, every company in tech is motivated by self-interest. Epic Games might claim that Apple has a monopoly power on smartphones, but it also wants to make its own tools into an industry requirement and similarly charge fees to use them. Through its own Epic Games Store, it charges fees on game sales, though its own fee is less than half of Apple’s at 12 percent. This type feuding between companies usually ends up making things better for customers in the end.
ArtStation says it won’t become overwhelmed by content promoting Epic’s products, and users there are going to pay less on their sales.