Epic Games, developer of games such as Unreal Tournament and the super popular Fortnite, has announced that they’re setting up their own digital storefront. Yep, the house that built Fortnite is about to take on Valve and Steam. This is going to be a battle for sure.
Set to launch later this year for PC and Mac, 2019 for Android (watch out Google!), this new storefront will challenge Steam and hit Valve where it hurts – in their wallet. You see, Valve had announced last month that they would be making changes to their distribution agreement. Which would provide developers/publishers with more money in their pocket, if they managed to hit a specific threshold. Starting from October 1, 2018, when a game makes over $10 million on Steam, the revenue split would drop from 70%/30% to 75%/25%. At $50 million, the revenue share will drop to 80%/20%. The issue with this is that this would only really benefit the powerhouses, while smaller companies such as indies would be stuck at the original split. This is where Epic Games’ upcoming storefront can make a huge difference. The timing is also very convenient.
As a developer ourselves, we have always wanted a platform with great economics that connects us directly with our players. Thanks to the success of Fortnite, we now have this and are ready to share it with other developers. — Epic Games CEO Time Sweeney
When this new storefront launches it will do so with an 88%/12% split – with no tiers.Which is a generous revenue split when you compare it to Steam’s offering. The store would sell Epic Games built on the Unreal Engine, but would also include titles built on other game engines. However, games built on the Unreal Engine would also cover the 5% royalty fee that Epic Games charges. This new storefront won’t be exclusive to Epic Game, as they’ve claimed that other games using various game engines will also be housed there. However, they haven’t announced what the requirements or criteria they would be using to decide what games make the cut.
They also plan to offer refunds within the first 14-days with no questions asked. At first it will be a manual process which may take longer, but eventually, it will be an automated process.
And don’t think that developers haven’t noticed this, because they have. I’ve seen multiple tweets for most of the day from both larger and smaller shops passing Epic Games move. Many of which are praising Epic’s approach.
Good for Epic – I always appreciate big moves that are pro-developer. What a great Christmas present!! https://t.co/pFUZKpRv0N
— ᴀᴅᴀᴍ ʙᴏʏᴇs (@amboyes) December 4, 2018
Epic launches their store and throws down the gauntlet to Steam. Competition is good. Never been a better time to be a developer, or customer. Exciting! https://t.co/X5j92XAyps
— George Broussard (@georgeb3dr) December 4, 2018
According to Tim Sweeny, Epic Games will have more information regarding the storefront to announce during The Game Awards which takes place on Dec. 6th, 2018. I’ll be watching to see what else they have planned and you should too.
Despite all of this, this has to make you wonder what exactly is Valve doing. Steam is the “go to” digital storefront for gaming and has been despite other competitors coming for their lunch. GOG, EA/Origin, the recent Discord storefront, and numerous others. Yet, Valve is still determined to penalize both larger and smaller developers with their outlandish pricing revenue structure. You’d think for someone as big as they are, they’d listen to the feedback and possibly drop their fee a bit more.
It’s not like Valve is hurting for money, that’s for sure. Yet forcing smaller developers to pay 30% is crazy, even with their new tier system. I’m not sure what Valve is thinking but it’s really hard for those smaller devs to surpass $50 million in sales. However, Epic Games’ revenue share is aggressive and attractive. I can definitely see a bunch of developers moving over, depending if everything we’ve read is as good as it seems. As for Valve, well, only time will tell if they plan on doing anything about this. That is if they care enough to do anything about this.
If anything, the digital storefront fight just got a whole lot more interesting. Can someone pass me the popcorn?
Source: Epic Games blog