Epic Games Store: direct Steam competition
Epic Games, maker of Unreal Engine and games such as Unreal Tournament, Fortnite or Gears of War, announced that it will soon launch an online games store.
Details are a bit murky: Epic Games plans to launch with a set of "hand-curated" games for PC and Mac and open the store to a wider assortment of games and other platforms such as Android throughout 2019.
The store is positioned as a direct competitor to Steam, the dominating game distribution platform, and not to company or publisher specific stores operated by Ubisoft, Electronic Arts or Blizzard; the main reason for that is simple: Epic Games does not limit the Store to its own games.
Epic Games plans to get developers on board by giving them better revenue split deals. Developers and publishers pay Valve 30% for every game sale on the platform whereas they will pay Epic Games just 12%. Developers using the Unreal Engine will save another 5% as the 12% include the engine royalty already.
Is it a coincidence that Valve announced new revenue share tiers on December 1, 2018? The new tiered system adjusts the revenue share to 75%/25% and 80%/20% when game earnings exceed $10 million and $50 million on Steam.
Epic Game Store makes no distinction between big and small publishers, and the company reassures in the announcement that games built with any engine will be welcome.
Epic Games plans to give developers and publishers more control over their Store presence. The company notes that developers are in control of the game pages on the store, and that game pages won't have "store-placed ads or cross-marketing of competing games", and "no paid ads in search results".
The company unveiled a revenue share incentive that is powered by the Epic Games Support-A-Creator program. Creators, e.g. YouTube or Twitch streamers, may refer players to earn a share of sales.
Companies set the percentage that they want creators to get; Epic revealed that it will cover the first 5% of revenue sharing in the first two Store years.
Epic Games has some pull thanks to the popularity of the Unreal Engine and its game franchises. The store's revenue share model makes it attractive for publishers who might upload their games to the Epic Games Store and to Steam to reach a wider audience.
It is almost certain that Epic's store won't have games from Ubisoft, Electronic Arts, Blizzard, and other game developers or publishers that operate their own Store. Some games from these publishers get published on Steam because of Steam's reach.
It is unclear how gamers will benefit from the Store as Epic Games has not revealed anything about the Store's functionality and features.
Getting developers and content creators on Twitch or Steam on board is a crucial step, and it appears that Epic Games has that step covered.
Now you: do you use online game stores? If so, which do you use?Advertisement