Epic will challenge Steam with the Epic Games Store’s pro-developer policies

    
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Hey Valve, it’s not just Discord coming for you: Epic Games wants a piece o’ that action too.

The Fortnite-and-Unreal-Engine developer today announced the Epic Games Store, a Steam competitor that will distribute digital games across companies and platforms and engines, complete with a reward structure for video and stream influencers. The key bit, however, is that it will offer a 88%/12% split – that is, Epic will keep only 12% of the proceeds from the games it vends, reserving the other 88% for the studios actually making the games.

That offer stands in sharp contrast to Valve’s newly announced plans for Steam, which still claim 30% of the game’s profits (plus 5% engine fees) on the platform unless the games pull in millions upon millions of dollars – and even then Valve’s plan isn’t as sweet.

Here’s Epic’s Tim Sweeney explaining the numbers game to GIbiz:

“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% for payment processing for major payment methods, less than 1.5% for CDN costs (assuming all games are updated as often as Fortnite), and between 1% and 2% 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% are marking up their costs by 300% to 400%. But with developers receiving 88% of revenue and Epic receiving 12%, this store will be a profitable business for us.”

While Sweeney told GamesBeat Epic is “not looking to crush Steam any time soon,” just “building a store with a fair deal for developers that creates new opportunities for content creators,” it nevertheless looks like the gauntlet has been thrown. And so much in the plan sounds dreamy not just for developers but for gamers too: Sweeney says the platform will avoid forums, manually approve games, offer a two-week refund policy, and be mindful of review-weaponization.

Will Steam’s momentum and existing customer base keep it on top for years to come, no matter how compelling Epic’s? That’s a fair short-term question. But Epic appears to be playing for the long-term – and a new generation of gamers that aren’t quite as financially and socially invested in the Steam ecosystem. I’m sure you remember when everyone said Google had no chance of disrupting the Apple market too, and now look where we are.

Source: GIbiz, Gamesbeat

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Xijit
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Xijit

This is Tencent’s answer to how it will pull out of the game freeze in China.

Remember how Epic’s Fortnight Mobile launch had that batshit installer that could be used to side load anything on someone’s computer & had programming hooks to be remotely controlled?

why the fuck would a single title ever need its own dedicated launch / install client when you could just install the gane directly and have it update internally? That always seemed suspicious to me, and here are the first steps to actually implement that launcher to run titles sold through Tencent’s store.

(I refuse to call this thing Epic’s store, because that is the last thing that it is)

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JoeCreoterra

You do realize that this is exactly the same way that Steam was popularized right? You needed to install a dedicated launcher in order to play Half Life 2.

PurpleCopper
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PurpleCopper

Steam provides alot more features besides a store front to sell games.
Steam Workshops, matchmaking, achievements, mods organizer, etc.
Perhaps Valve feels all those extra features justifies the 20-30% cut.

Although they say the storefront will be curated, what happens when/if it grows to library size of Steam’s?

Mallettjt
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Mallettjt

“Pro-developer” aka pro Tencent Wage Slaves. I can smell the chinese censorship already. Wait that smells been blacklisted.

(Also i guess we wont see any disney games featuring winnie the pooh.)

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agemyth 😩

Is this going to be a “reskin” of Tencent’s WeGame client? The time seems to be about right for that since it was already being talked about as in the works.

This might be the first Steam competitor to actually have a killer set of features aimed at developers. That said, some of this stuff seems less beneficial for players, like developers having the option to not have user reviews on their store page. If I want to get a peek at what people are saying about a game where do I go since there aren’t forums or something similar? Not every game can justify its own dev hosted forum or inspire users to form and maintain a subreddit. Must I get my hot takes from all the other social media giants by doing google searches?

A free game every two weeks will obviously get some attention, but there are already so many games worth playing in our backlogs and coming out every week. I like clicking “add to my game library” as much as the next person, but people who have used Xbox Live Gold and Playstation Plus can probably attest to how little value a free game of someone else’s choosing can have. If you know where to look you can find free game promotions on the various PC-based platforms all the time.

Others have mentioned it, but arranging a deal like GOG’s library “import” from Steam would be a big deal and one the Fortnite people can certainly be persuasive with big publishers in ways CD Project can’t be.

Time will tell but my opinion of Epic’s current offering is pretty much tied with that of the Bethesda.net client. The competition is always welcome.

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Sorenthaz

Yeah on one hand they can combat review bombs and the toxic spewage that is Steam forums.

On the other hand it can silence critical opinions that don’t recommend the game or feel like they need a venue to complain about issues.

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zoward

Here’s why I don’t see this working out the way Epic hopes it will:

– Publishers would love to pay 12% versus 30%. But I don’t seriously see them passing any of that 18% along to their customers.
– Big AAA publishers already have their own platform (BNet, Origin, UPlay, etc).
– Non AAA Publishers are going to realize quickly that customers aren’t going to want install another client for privilege of paying full price to play their games, so they’re going to have to publish on both Steam and Epic. If their customers already have Steam, what possible motivation would they have to buy on Epic instead if it means maintaining two libraries?
– I can see publishers offering extra goodies (guns, hats, outfits, maps, etc) for people who buy on Epic in order to get their extra 18%, at which point I wonder if Steam will strongarm them into not cutting such deals or losing Steam as a platform.

But imagine what would hapeen if it worked and Epic became huge – Valve might have to go back to making games for a living!

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Sorenthaz

Epic is probably banking hard on the idea that they’ve got a whole generation of kids under their thumb right now and that’ll lead to long-term popularity of their platform if they can keep them on it.

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Michael18

It seems we have to accept that our libraries will be scattered across 5-10 clients/launchers in the future. Each with different features and characteristics.

Of course it is too early to tell, but I guess for me personally this will probably mean I’ll be less interested in buying games just to have them in my library even though I might be unsure if I’ll ever find time to play them. With fragmented libraries collecting games does not seem very appealing. I wonder how significant this effect will be for games sales in general.

Yangers
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Yangers

I wont. I already avoid games that want me to go through another launcher, and im not giving up all the games i already have on steam.

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Roger Christie

Nope. Not going to do it.

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urgan

“customer support costs”

Well there’s the savings. Their support staff is almost zero people. Fortnite players wait literal months to get responses back from Epic support.

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Al_Bundy

Competition is good for business. Especially from a consumers perspective.

The only thing that annoys me is having to bother with dozens of different launchers and accounts. Steam, Battle.net, GOG, Ubisoft, Epic, simply annoying. I wish there was a way to manage all these services into one “master account”.

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Sorenthaz

Yeah… there’s now:

  1. Steam – Most games
  2. Origin – All EA games
  3. Battle.net – Basically all online Activision Blizzard games moving forward
  4. Microsoft Store – Any studios under Microsoft (now including Obsidian… v_v)
  5. UPlay – Ubisoft
  6. Epic Launcher – Epic Games + more soon
  7. GOG – DRMless games
  8. Bethesda Launcher – Fallout 76 exclusive for now
  9. Glyph – Trion products
  10. Arc – PWE/Cryptic games

Can’t remember if there’s anything else but that’s already too many different ones.

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Armsbend

Twitch launcher – for the “free” games they give away at various times during the year.

Yangers
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Yangers

Almost all my games are on steam. I don’t want another launcher.

But i guess one postive is that games will be 23% cheaper right……… *collapses on the floor laughing*

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rafael12104

I wonder if Valve will try and sue Epic for… I don’t know… it doesn’t matter. I wonder if they will try it. Heh.