Epic Games Store could finally become a true Steam contender
When PC gamers think of the Epic Games Store, thoughts of weekly freebies, endless $10 game discounts, sales and exclusives such as Fortnite may come to mind. Compared to Steam, Epic's Game Store offers quite the different experience, and this has been showing up until now in the games that were available.
Up until now, Epic focused on a smaller selection of games. It has been like Gog in this regard, only that it focused on mainstream games and some indies thrown in, whereas Gog focuses on old computer games, some indies, and a few major releases.
Epic Games announced a new self-publishing program this week that allows any developer to publish their games on the store. In other words: the company is opening up its Store for games from all developers. Game developers may publish their games directly on the store, without requiring a game publisher. Steam, Valve's dominating platform when it comes to gaming on PCs, offers this option already, and it shows in the number of new games added to the store each week.
Self-publishing on the Epic Games Store
Epic's system is similar to that of Steam. Developers pay a one-time fee of $100 per game that they submit, create a landing page for the game, add business information, and submit the game for review. To give developers an incentive to publish at the store, Epic is keeping its 88% to 12% revenue split system, hoping that it will give game developers an incentive to publish at its store and not on Steam. Game publishers on Steam keep 70% of revenue only, while Valve is pocketing the remaining 30%.
Epic Games notes that there is prohibited content, which game companies can't put up for review. This includes "hateful or discriminatory content, pornography, and illegal content", according to the FAQ on this page. Steam, notably, allows explicit adult games on the store.
Another difference is that all multiplayer games need to allow crossplay across all PC stores, so that gamers can play against other players easily, even if they bought the game on a different store. Epic claims that it has over 230 million Epic Games Store users across 167 countries.
Valve publishes over 1000 games on Steam each month, many of which are self-published by game developers. Steam is by far the biggest marketplace for independent games, but other choices, such as Gog or Itch.io, have established a presence in the market in recent years.
Epic's self-publishing launch and the favorable revenue share could entice developers to publish their games on the Epic Games Store either exclusively or as well as on Steam. While some games, notable explicit adult games, are not allowed, these do not make up the bulk of game releases each month.
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