Epic Games Store Would Stop Snagging Exclusives If Steam Adopted Their Revenue Model

The Epic Games store launched with a major feature that its main competitor, Steam, hasn’t been willing to offer so far -- an 88/12 revenue split model in favor of developers. Epic's CEO this week said that if Steam would adopt the same model and share 88% of game revenues with all developers, it would drop the exclusivity deals it sometimes makes with certain game developers.

Sweeney Takes A Swing At Steam

"If Steam committed to a permanent 88% revenue share for all developers and publishers without major strings attached, Epic would hastily organize a retreat from exclusives (while honoring our partner commitments) and consider putting our own games on Steam," he said via Twitter, adding. "Such a move would be a glorious moment in the history of PC gaming and would have a sweeping impact on other platforms for generations to come. Then stores could go back to just being nice places to buy stuff, rather than the Game Developer IRS."

That no strings attached would mean Valve wouldn't prevent game developers from using other stores or tax them for targeting more than one platform. An open store should simply allow gamers to find the games they like, with no arbitrary restrictions: Games can use any online systems, like friends and accounts, they choose, games are free to interoperate across platforms and stores, the store doesn’t tax revenue on other stores or platforms (e.g. if you play Fortnite on iOS+PC).

More “no major strings attached”: if you play the game on multiple platforms, stuff you’ve bought can be available everywhere; no onerous certification requirements. Essentially, the spirit of an open platform where the store is just a place to find games and pay for stuff."

Epic vs Steam Store Revenue Split Models

The Epic Games store currently takes only 12% of a game's revenues, with the rest going to the developers. In comparison, Steam takes 30%, or two and a half times more, as commission from games making under $10 million. Those who make more than $10 million in sales from a popular game can have that commission reduced to 25%, while those making over $50 million in revenue from their games have to pay 20%, which is still significantly more than Epic’s 12% fee.

Steam’s current tiered revenue split seems to mostly favor larger developers and hurt indie developers, which could help Epic in the long term.

Epic Games’ store is still very much in its infancy, but if it keeps getting more popular with developers due to the low commission rate, it could become a larger threat to Steam. Epic has also promised to launch its store for macOS and Android in the near future

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  • Frag Maniac
    That's one thing I'll agree with Epic on that Valve takes too big a cut from devs for using Steam distribution, which also affects game prices for the consumer. It's why so many games on Steam stay at launch price for so long. If the Epic Games Store keeps attracting devs as it has, Valve will eventually have to cave and at least lower their cut, if not match Epic's cut.

    Another way devs may be saving money soon though is Stadia. If it gets to the point where even 1/3 of the games made are available on Stadia, a TON of devs are going to want to develop exclusively for it just because it cuts out tons of development and testing time for multi platforms, plus anyone can play Stadia games without even needing a gaming system.
  • pocketdrummer
    This is something that's easy for Epic to say, since they don't have anywhere near the same overhead as Steam, given their substantial feature deficit. I think Valve should counter by saying they'll do it once Epic has feature parity and still offers that rate. Also, I really want to see that money in the pockets of the development team, not just the publishers.

    Honestly, I don't think Epic has any intention of stopping what they're doing. They're trying to run a hearts and minds campaign to get gamers onto their platform. We know their primary objective is to make more money, and all this press over a baseless tweet is free advertisement. Way to go TH...
  • Deadhound
    This is dishonest by Sweeney. And not ony by the virtue of steam offering so much more to devs than Epic Store (not the engine)
    and Steam having steam keys that they do not take a cut from, so devs/publishers can sell them on their own st
    Who pays the transfer fee in the two stores?
    In steam, it comes from Valves cut, and in Epic Store it comes from the consumers cut, raising the price even more for new games, and making the price shown in the store not the full one.
    and in Steams case it can be atleast 10-15%, from the Steam Gift Cards. and by Sweeneys account, some transfer methods can cost upwards to 25% (though Im pretty sure epic doesn't use those, but Steam might as they have so many different methods for paying)