It was only last week that the Epic Store launched, and this week Discord has announced that they will be opening up their own game store in 2019 and will be providing developers with a 90% revenue split, which is higher than both steam (70%) and Epic (88%). Not only that, but they will also be offering game developers the opportunity to self publish their games.
This higher revenue split is sure to win over developers, but do customers really care? Did anyone stop using Amazon after they treated their staff poorly? Is a higher revenue split for developers going to convince customers to move from Steam, where they already have a well established game library and a boat load of mods? Unlikely.
It’s great that there’s another company interested in competing with Steam; competition will make the marketplace better for gamers, and it will force marketplace owners to give more to the customers in order to keep them (and to try and win new customers, of course). But in order to be a true competitor you need to have the games to sell, and so far the Epic Store is dire. I’m not sure how much better the Discord store will be at launch but it’s probably safe to say that Steam don’t have too much to worry about for at least a year or two.
Discord’s growth has been exponential since it launched in 2015. The way it entered into an already crowded market that was dominated by a handful of voice chat apps—such as Team Speak and Ventrilo—and cleaned up is to be commended, but entering into a market with a free app and entering into a market with paid-for content is a completely different kettle of fish. That being said, Discord does have the reach to be able to pull it off if the marketplace is on point, and I feel like more gamers are willing to trust and use the Discord store over Epic’s, but if Discord will have the sway to take players away from Steam is yet to be seen.
What interests me the most is why Amazon haven’t entered this market yet. They have a marketplace for almost every other product you can imagine but they don’t have one for digital games, even though they own Twitch and their own royalty-free game engine (Amazon Lumberyard). They’re even releasing a game developed and published by themselves for the Grand Tour. Maybe they are planning on entering the market and these smaller companies want to get in on the action before Amazon swoops in.