Tim Sweeney says Epic would stop buying exclusives if Steam paid developers more money

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Epic’s been muscling in on Valve’s territory, taking on Steam with its own digital storefront. One of the ways they’ve been doing that is by signing up exclusives, adopting the console business model. It’s rankled many PC gamers who prefer their games under a single digital umbrella.

In a series of tweets, Epic Boss Tim Sweeney said that the company would stop pursuing this sort of exclusivity deal if Steam would open its coffers up a little more.

“If Steam committed to a permanent 88% revenue share for all developers and publishers without major strings attached, Epic would hastily organize a retreat from exclusives (while honoring our partner commitments) and consider putting our own games on Steam,” Sweeney said on Twitter.

Of course, he’s highlighting that Epic’s Store does actually give developers and publishers an 88% revenue share, which is a far cry from the standard 70/30 split the platform currently offers. Their revenue share is now tiered though, as once games hit the $10m mark, the split changes to 75/25, while heavy-hitters that make over $50m get an 80/20 split. Even compared to the best case scenario, it’s easy to see why developers have opted for Epic’s store. And it’s working out – even games from mid-sized publishers like the recently released World War Z are selling well on Epic’s platform. While there’s a vocal bit of the internet that’s in an uproar, it seems most consumers don’t give a single damn where they get or launch their games from.

That said, while Sweeney’s statements are nice, they’re unlikely to bear fruit. His caveat of “major strings” becomes a little untenable.

He wants to see a world where “games can use any online systems like friends and accounts they choose, games are free to interoperate across platforms and stores” and “the store doesn’t tax revenue on other stores or platforms”, like playing Fortnite on both PC and mobile devices. He also wants players to be able to “play the game on multiple platforms” with “stuff you’ve bought available everywhere” with “no onerous certification requirements”.

“Essentially, the spirit of an open platform where the store is just a place to find games and pay for stuff,” Sweeney said.

It sounds like a PC gaming utopia, but it means less money for people who really like money.

“Such a move would be a glorious moment in the history of PC gaming, and would have a sweeping impact on other platforms for generations to come,” Sweeney said.

Last Updated: April 26, 2019

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