Epic Games founder and CEO, Tim Sweeney, has stirred things up a bit on Twitter by declaring that Epic Games would stop securing exclusive titles for the Epic Games Store if Steam matched their revenue split with developers and publishers.
Currently, Steam has a tiered approach where they take a 30% share of the revenue from games that sell under $10m, decreasing their cut to 25% from games that hit $10m and then to 20% from games that surpass $50m. Epic Games, meanwhile, are currently much more generous with their revenue split, taking just a 12% cut across the board, while developers and publishers pocket the remaining 88%. That makes the Epic Games Store a much more enticing prospect than Steam for both developers and publishers alike, and that is why Epic managed to secure the exclusive rights to the likes of Metro: Exodus and The Division 2 in recent months.
It’s great for developers and publishers then, but it’s been a source of much disdain for gamers, who have complained about the Epic Games Store’s lack of core features such as achievements and user reviews, which doesn’t make it a very user-friendly experience. It seems then, that game creators would much rather sell their titles on the Epic Games Store, but gamers would much rather buy their games through Steam, which has obviously caused quite a bit of tension and a bit of bad publicity for Epic. Sweeney seems to think that Epic is fighting the good fight though, stating that Steam taking a cut of 30% is strangling the people who earn money by creating the games that we love.
That’s a loaded question! But Epic will stay the course. 30% store dominance is the #1 problem for PC developers, publishers, and everyone who relies on those businesses for their livelihood. We’re determined to fix it and this is the one approach that will effect major change.
— Tim Sweeney (@TimSweeneyEpic) April 24, 2019
Thankfully though, it appears that Epic would be willing to drop their approach of securing exclusives if Steam were to stop being so damn greedy, and Sweeney even claimed that Epic would be willing to sell their games on 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.
— Tim Sweeney (@TimSweeneyEpic) April 25, 2019
He followed this up by saying that such a move from Steam would be “a glorious moment in the history of PC gaming, and would have a sweeping impact on other platforms for generations to come.”, before following that up by saying that “stores could go back to just being nice places to buy stuff, rather than the Game Developer IRS”.
It’s highly doubtful that Steam will call Sweeney’s bluff on this, so take all of these comments with a pinch of salt, and I’d be a bit sceptical before buying into the picture that Sweeney is painting of Epic making a stand to try and help developers. This could all be an effort by Sweeney to try and swirl up some positive publicity for Epic, and don’t forget that as they secure more exclusives for their store they also gain more of a monopoly over the marketplace and give you fewer options as a consumer, so there is a valid argument that their approach is anti-consumer and, at its core, all about securing market dominance.
The whole thing is a topic of much debate, and it’s a debate that I don’t see going away any time soon, with valid arguments available on both sides. We’ll keep you updated as and when Valve respond to Sweeney’s comments. What are your thoughts on the matter? Let us know in the comments below.