For over a decade, Steam has been the absolute dominant storefront for PC video games, but it now seems that Valve are gearing up for a dogfight to retain their crown, and Epic Games have thrown their hat into the ring with the announcement of a the Epic Games Store.
Valve have seen a number of competitors spring up over the years, as EA launched Origin, Ubisoft opened uPlay, Microsoft built the Microsoft Store into Windows, and now both Activision and Bethesda have decided to splinter off and use their own game launchers. It’s messy for end users, but by and large Valve have been able to stick to their guns with a flat 70:30 split from the profits that others have copied.
Valve are now changing that, so that the top earners will get to keep more of their profits. If a game makes $10 million dollars, Valve will take 25% of the income after that point, which will drop to 20% if a game passes $50 million. It’s a clear play to try and keep or bring major third party publishers back to the table, but it also forgets that the developers that are truly struggling to make money from Steam are indies that might find it difficulty to sell even a few thousand copies.
Epic’s announcement could shake up the price structure even further, as they will be bringing across the 88:12 split that they recently adopted for their assets marketplace. When the company is making so much of Fortnite right now, and with billions in investment coming in, they can afford to undercut the competition like this.
Epic will adopt hand curation with developers and publishers having to first apply to be allowed on the store. It will open soon for PC and Mac with a limited number of titles, before expanding through 2019.