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How do royalties work for free to play UE4 HTML5 games on ad-supported websites?

If I have an ad-supported personal blog/news site and add a free to play UE4 HTML5 game, how do the royalty payments work? The game itself is not the main content of the site but would be on a page with consistent ad placements as the rest of the site. I imagine it would be near impossible to tease out which ad revenue (if any) came from the page with the game on it versus all the other content.

I didn't see this scenario in the FAQ and it kind of awkwardly straddles the line between truly free to play (royalty-free) and ad-supported apps (except this isn't in-app ads).

Product Version: UE 4.17
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asked Aug 27 '17 at 07:13 PM in Legal & Licensing

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2 answers: sort voted first

If the ads are not in or directly connected to the game, then there is no royalty on that revenue.

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answered Aug 27 '17 at 09:16 PM

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atypic STAFF
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avatar image DanimalsOnParade Aug 28 '17 at 03:50 AM

Assuming I understand you correctly, my scenario would be considered royalty-free, correct? Ads won't be in the game itself. They would be apart of the site's template, probably header ad and sidebar ad. I'm not entirely sure how you define "directly connected" though. Assume ads would be through Google Adsense which are based on the websites blog/news posts. Google Adsense wouldn't know anything about the game content.

For clarity, let's make a theoretical scenario. Say I have a website devoted to something not video game related like... uh... non-esports sports. So the site has blog posts about my opinions on sports things and news snippets with Google Adsense ads built into the template (header and sidebar). Then I have a separate page on the site with maybe a free to play simple soccer shoot-out game made in UE4 or maybe a free to play tappy chicken clone game made in UE4 (doesn't have to be related to sports). This page would keep the template of the rest of the site with a header and a sidebar ad. Is that considered royalty-free?

Put it another way, if a site like ESPN.com or CNN.com created a free to play little HTML5 tappy chicken clone game in UE4 and put it on their site and kept their traditional ad layout on the page with the UE4 HTML5 game, would that be considered royalty-free or how would they figure out royalty payments?

I just want to be doubly sure to respect the UE4 License and Epic Games, thanks! :)

avatar image atypic STAFF Aug 28 '17 at 01:56 PM

I think in the case of head and sidebar ads, there is no royalty on that ad revenue.

avatar image zeehlxdv1 Oct 09 '17 at 07:35 PM

@atypic, should your answer have a "not" in there? "If the ads are not in or directly connected to the game, then there is no royalty on that revenue" Or am I missing something...

avatar image atypic STAFF Oct 09 '17 at 07:37 PM

Yes you're correct

avatar image DanimalsOnParade Oct 09 '17 at 07:45 PM

That's partially why I asked for clarification. Now the original statement makes more sense! :)

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Obviously, trust the staffer. But it brings up what I thought had changed recently. If your game is a free marketing piece. I thought it was the cost of the part of the marketing that was allocated for unreal. Or is that only 3rd party, which sort of sounds similar to the top example. For example, if I do a marketing piece for an architecture firm. And it's hosted on my site, I would pay a project percentage and not any advertisement revenue or architecture sales revenue. Correct?

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answered Aug 27 '17 at 10:21 PM

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avatar image atypic STAFF Aug 28 '17 at 12:07 AM

I'm not sure I follow, and I don't think anything has changed in this area. If a company pays you to do a custom UE4-based marketing piece, those work-for-hire fees are royalty free. This all assumes that the product itself is not sold or monetized - this is generally the case with marketing pieces.

avatar image rasamaya Aug 28 '17 at 02:11 PM

I think this line below from the eula, made me think, because Epic mentions non-recoupable, then all recoupable costs would be deemed royalty revenue.

" 3. Consulting fees or work-for-hire fees which are non-recoupable for services performed using the Licensed Technology (e.g., an architect-created walkthrough simulation or a contractor-developed in-house training simulator);"

avatar image atypic STAFF Aug 28 '17 at 02:15 PM

I think in most cases, any recoupable revenue would be royalty bearing. I guess it's possible for an exception to apply, but I'd be surprised. Because in every case I've encountered, a recoupable advance is in connection with anticipated future sales. And if it's a regular product for sale, it's subject to royalty.

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