—for years, Steam has been the only digital games store for many players
December 14, 2018 7:28 AM Subscribe
Epic Games takes on Steam with its own fairer game store [The Verge] “Epic Games, the developer of Fortnite and the widely used game-making software Unreal Engine, is about to start selling other companies’ games, too. Epic is launching a new online store like Valve’s Steam that will similarly feature third-party games, marking yet another substantial threat to Steam’s dominant position as the lead distributor of PC titles. Epic’s store, which is set to launch soon, will start with a select number of PC and Mac games, and it will open up to more developers next year.”
■ No, there’s no store-wide DRM, though game developers can add their own.• Epic Games is launching its own store, and taking a smaller cut than Steam [Polygon]
■ No, Epic doesn’t plan to add social components like game streaming or forums.
■ Yes, Epic will help devs take advantage of online features in their games (presumably things like chat, matchmaking, and cloud saves, though they weren’t mentioned by name).
■ Yes, the Epic Store will offer refunds — initially through customer support, though an automated, 14-day, no-questions-asked return policy should follow soon.
■ Yes, it’ll be available outside the US, in “most countries in the world except for China and where prohibited by US law, such as North Korea and Iran.”
“But what’s most novel is how Epic Games plans to work with developers who sell their games through its storefront. In a blog post on the Unreal Engine website, Epic detailed the profit margins for developers first and foremost, with the majority of revenue going straight to developers. “Developers receive 88% of revenue,” the company wrote. “There are no tiers or thresholds. Epic takes 12%. And if you’re using Unreal Engine, Epic will cover the 5% engine royalty for sales on the Epic Games store, out of Epic’s 12%.””• Tim Sweeney Answers Questions About The New Epic Games Store [Game Informer]
“The 70/30 percent split was a breakthrough more than a decade ago with the advent of Steam, the Apple App Store, and Google Play. But today, digital software stores have grown into a $25,000,000,000+ business worldwide across all platforms, yet the economies of scale have not benefited developers. In our analysis, stores are marking up their costs 300 percent to 400 percent. We simply aim to give developers a better deal. While running Fortnite we learned a lot about the cost of running a digital store on PC. The math is quite simple: we pay around 2.5 to 3.5 percent for payment processing for major payment methods, less than 1.5 percent for CDN costs (assuming all games are updated as often as Fortnite), and between 1 and 2 percent for variable operating and customer support costs. Fixed costs of developing and supporting the platform become negligible at a large scale. In our analysis, stores charging 30 percent are marking up their costs by 300 to 400 percent. But with developers receiving 88 percent of revenue and Epic receiving 12 percent, this store will still be a profitable business for us.”• Epic's Game Store Is Already Locking Down Exclusives [Kotaku]
“Epic Games’ new store is not only taking the fight to Steam by giving developers a bigger cut of their games’ earnings—it’s locking down exclusive games, too. So far, six developers have said their games will be exclusive to the Epic store for a while, in some cases up to a year. These include interesting indies like Hades and Ashen, as well as Super Meat Boy Forever, which will launch in April 2019 and be exclusive to the Epic store for a year. The Epic store is “desperately needed to get Steam to give a shit,” said Team Meat’s Tommy Refenes in the game’s Discord channel (via PC Gamer). Refenes, like many other developers of Epic store-exclusive games, noted that some fans are upset that they’ll have to use multiple apps to play their game libraries. “It may [mean] more launchers, sure, but a small price to pay for a developer community that doesn’t feel like they have one choice on PC.””• The Epic Games Store is the best thing that could happen to Steam [Engadget]
“This month's Valve-Epic rivalry isn't a matter of life or death for either company. The Epic Games store can't cannibalize Steam with a few exclusives, and Steam can't stop Epic from snagging new games by offering a better revenue share. Both companies are bigger than their launchers: Steam is the sole proprietor of a handful of illustrious franchises, plus it's dabbling in hardware development and VR, while Epic has the Unreal Engine and Fortnite. This is a battle between two multi-billion-dollar companies. However it shakes out, they'll both likely be fine. But, with billions behind it, the Epic Games store represents the first real competition for Steam in more than a decade, and that means PC gaming is about to change in a major way. "Competition is good, but the PC market has no competition. There is only Steam," Refenes said. "But what happens when the Epic Games store gets its footing and grows into a PC marketplace powerhouse? What would that force Steam to do? It would force them to improve.”
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