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

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

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ThrowingGauntlet

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

30 Comments

  1. Alien Emperor Trevor

    April 26, 2019 at 08:12

    Oh fuck off Sweeney Timm. I think we all know you don’t give a shit about developers. You’re being completely disingenuous and everyone can see right through it. Right now you’re like the Wizard of Oz trying to get people to not pay attention to the man behind the curtain. Pay no attention to our shitty business practices, look at how terrible Valve is! Except Valve has never been ripping people off, and your revenue share is not materially different from MS or Sony loss-leading with consoles. If Steam did what you said your store would die, because you can not compete with them on an even footing because your store is objectively worse in every way when it comes to features.

    Reply

    • Pariah

      April 26, 2019 at 08:19

      Well there’s only one way where Epic have an edge – visibility. Steam is full of bullshit shovelware “games” that clog up the store. That however isn’t saying much for Epic, considering the veritable mountain of other shit that they can’t even touch Steam on.

      Reply

      • Alien Emperor Trevor

        April 26, 2019 at 08:27

        That’s true. It’s been my main complaint with Steam for years, all that rubbish being released on the platform which dilutes everything.

        I get why they’re doing it that way and it’s a noble ideal to say everyone can release their game, but that kind of laissez-faire approach is easily abused, and it is. Steam really does need a much better way of moderating store releases.

        At the same time I sometimes wonder how bad the discoverability problem really is. I can understand that a guy who made a hentai match-3 puzzle game thinks it’s the greatest thing ever and should sell millions of copies, but I don’t care and haven’t missed a thing by not seeing it.

        Reply

        • Pariah

          April 26, 2019 at 08:44

          Well it’s changed how I engage with the store for the most part. Instead of finding new and interesting titles from the store – I look to streamers on Twitch. That’s fine and all, but it makes the store part of the Steam client quite meaningless. At this point, they may as well have the same storefront as Epic (but with a shopping cart. How does Epic not have a fucking cart?) – that’s about how much I use it. Search for game, add to cart, go back to installed library.

          But that’s not how it used to be. I used to actively engage with the store and often I’d find hidden gems right there. I have some fond memories of new and interesting indies that I discovered directly on the store, and I don’t get that any more.

          Does that matter much for my library or play time? Not much, no. But it does matter for small indie developers who’re looking to break into the industry.

          Reply

          • Alien Emperor Trevor

            April 26, 2019 at 08:53

            My main way of finding random games comes from browsing the discovery queue during the major sales to get sale trading cards. Found quite a few things in there over the years.

          • Pariah

            April 26, 2019 at 09:01

            My discovery queue gives me, on average, 1 interesting title for every 50 “skip” or “not interested” titles it gives these days. That’s not necessarily bad, but it’s made me stop using it because it used to be about 1 in 20. It’s a slog now instead of a voyage of discovery and not worth the time it takes for me personally.

            And speaking of sales – that’s great for us, the consumer. Always is, always was. Plus devs get to sell copies that they likely weren’t going to sell otherwise. However, if that’s when the small indie devs’ games are being found – then isn’t it too late for them? I’ve seen a few great games just get 2 or 3 patches over a couple months and the dev has to move on because they just weren’t discovered in time. Granted, that’s not always the case and great games are in fact rare, but it does exacerbate the issue when their game has to fight through so much more shit just to be found.

          • Magoo

            April 26, 2019 at 09:08

            In a way it’s kind of a good thing. I spent thousands on games I never even downloaded, now I don’t even bother browsing.

          • Pariah

            April 26, 2019 at 09:08

            That’s a fair point honestly. It’s probably saved me plenty too. haha

          • Magoo

            April 26, 2019 at 09:01

            Seriously though you guys should try hentai match-3 puzzle out it’s really not that bad.

          • Pariah

            April 26, 2019 at 09:01

            That’s a no from me. lol

          • Yahtzee

            April 26, 2019 at 09:01

            It’s called “Art”

          • Magoo

            April 26, 2019 at 09:08

            Hentai gets really dodge really quickly man. Half of it is just underage cartoon rape.

          • Pariah

            April 26, 2019 at 11:19

            And the other half is purple tentacle shit from what I’ve seen. XD

          • Alien Emperor Trevor

            April 26, 2019 at 14:30

            You leave anime out of this!

          • Pariah

            April 26, 2019 at 14:37

            I refuse!

          • Alien Emperor Trevor

            April 26, 2019 at 09:08

            Not “fan service”?

          • Magoo

            April 26, 2019 at 11:19

            Don’t you dare compare the two!

          • HvR

            April 26, 2019 at 09:34

            I use yourself and JJ as my to be purchased testers

      • HvR

        April 26, 2019 at 09:08

        Agree but the flip side is we probably wouldn’t have seen a crapload of the new indie games that on paper should not work but does. Sometimes you need to sort through the tons of mud to get to the gold nuggets.

        Reply

        • Pariah

          April 26, 2019 at 09:08

          Oh definitely. But wouldn’t it be great if there was less mud? Less, preventable mud?

          Reply

          • HvR

            April 26, 2019 at 09:22

            Yes think they have a lot of work to do; maybe take page out of google’s book and implement machine learning algorithms to better match a player with games.

            I think the changes they have made from GreenLight to Direct has been positive.

            What few people seems to ignore from Steam is they take criticism then go back and make a sober fact based decisions and not knee jerk reaction on outrage culture like many other big tech companies and what gaming journalist and vocal twitter mobs want them to make. If that was the case the indie development scene would been killed a long time ago.

          • Pariah

            April 26, 2019 at 09:39

            Yeah you can see they’ve been trying over time to fix the problems while not doing a 180 on their goal of creating an open platform. But the issue is still very real and as you say, they have a lot of work still to do. But their new anti-review-bombing algorithms seem to be working well so that’s great. They’ve done a ton of things to enhance and add value over the years, so you’re right that they deserve credit for that.

    • Geoffrey Tim

      April 26, 2019 at 09:15

      Go on trev. Tell us how you really feel.

      Reply

  2. HvR

    April 26, 2019 at 09:01

    LOL, what a load of BS.

    “I would give up billions of dollars of potential income for a multi-platform utopia”

    Sweeney loves money as much as Gaben loves the twin double cheeseburger meal from McDs.

    Fact is we have no idea if the epic store model is sustainable I will bet money that it is not, they are bleeding millions to get as large possible market share. The sweet spot is somewhere between Steam and Epic and both will gravitate to that point.

    Reply

    • Magoo

      April 26, 2019 at 09:22

      Do you know how much money Fortnite makes? It’s like if you take a fuckton, and multiply it by vokof, and add jou ma.

      It’s jou ma se vokof fuckton of money.

      They make $1.5m on IOS alone every day.
      They also have a PC version, and android, and PS4, and Xbox, and Switch.

      Them “bleeding millions” is the equivalent of someone shooting an elastic band at you, and missing! I think that they have so much money that they are trying to find ways to exchange it for power (or market share if you will).

      Reply

      • HvR

        April 26, 2019 at 09:28

        Do not forget the $1.5 BILLION in investment funding they received.

        But that is my point, they can afford to bleed millions for now, but when that Fortnite stone (when the majority of their player base hits puberty) has been bled dry the Epic Store needs to be a big profit making venture otherwise they are going to drop in value so fast they will be sold off and spent the the next decade globbering EA or Activision penis. And they heard from the once mighty WoW owner Blizzard it is not a nice way to spend your working week.

        Reply

  3. Magoo

    April 26, 2019 at 07:58

    I’m calling a bluff. Steam would not do that. He could have put any bullshit behind that “If” and not have to account for it, and he knows that.

    Reply

    • Pariah

      April 26, 2019 at 08:19

      Yeah, all bark and no bite here. That’s the vibe I get. Bullshit through and through, just for media attention. I really don’t like how Epic do things. I don’t care about exclusives, I care about how they’ve gone about their business – and it leaves a lot to be desired.

      Reply

  4. Bad Body Double

    April 26, 2019 at 12:43

    Says the man who is currently working his staff to death (70 hour work weeks). Oh the irony. Pot calling the kettle black!

    Sort your own house out you stupid dipshit before calling out others.

    Steam doesn’t even take home the full 30% after all is said and done

    https://arstechnica.com/gaming/2019/04/why-valve-actually-gets-less-than-30-percent-of-steam-game-sales/

    Reply

  5. The Big Bad Wolf

    April 26, 2019 at 08:44

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