Epic Games Opening Its Own Game Store – Can It Take on Steam?
December 5, 2018 Andrew Cheng

As far as online game stores go for the PC market, it’s really dominated by one platform: Steam. Valve’s game store is practically synonymous with PC gaming, but in the very near future, it may face stiff competition from Epic Games.

That’s right, the developer of the massively popular Fortnite battle royale game will be releasing its own game store very soon. Offering better revenue split, support, and a bunch of other benefits, the Epic Games store – that’s what it will be called – may be able to take on Steam toe-to-toe.

One of the biggest benefits the Epic Games store will be offering is a much better revenue split. Typically, Valve takes about 30% of revenue earned from games on Steam, and these include game sales, downloadable content, as well as in-game purchases. Creators, on the other hand, are only left with 70% of revenue.

Needless to say, this is a sizeable cut for Valve, and Epic Games is taking advantage of this. Creators that sign on with the company’s upcoming game store will get 88% of revenue generated, while Epic will only take 12%. This reason alone may be good enough for creators to go with the Epic Games store instead of Steam.

Of course, that’s not the only incentive Epic Games is offering. On top of the attractive revenue split, creators that use Epic’s Unreal Engine on its game store won’t have to pay the 5% royalty fee for the engine. Instead, that 5% will be taken from Epic’s own 12% revenue cut.

But it’s worth noting that Valve recently announced a new revenue split for Steam, though it will only really benefit games that can generate revenue well above $10 million. For games on Steam that garner sales between $10 million to $50 million, Valve will get 25% of the revenue. Games that go above the $50 million mark, on the other hand, will see the revenue split go down to “only” 20% for Valve.

As for games on the platform that generate less than $10 million in revenue, the revenue split is still 30/70, with 30% going to Valve.

Monetarily, it makes a lot of sense to go with the Epic Games store than Steam. The fact that creators who sign on with Epic will receive a larger chunk of revenue generated regardless of how much revenue they can generate will be especially beneficial to smaller indie developers.

Although money plays a huge role, it’s not the only reason creators would want to go with Epic’s game store. For starters, the company’s Support-A-Creator program from Fortnite will be brought to the game store.

Basically, the Support-A-Creator program allows streamers and content creators to earn a set amount of money for publicising certain games. For example, streamers who refer players to buy a developer’s game will earn a share of the revenue set by said developer. In a way, it’s a channel for developers to market their games to a wider audience.

To encourage developers and publishers to opt-in for the Support-A-Creator program, Epic will be covering 5% of the creator revenue-sharing for the next 24 months – plenty of time for the program to get some traction.

However, can Epic Games really take on Valve’s hugely popular Steam platform? At the end of the day, it will depend on how many creators Epic can persuade to release their games on its platform. In fact, the company will reveal the lineup of third-party games that will be available on its game store at launch this Thursday at The Game Awards.

Naturally, Epic Games will be releasing its game store for PC and Mac first. Sometime in 2019, Epic is planning to expand its store to the mobile market too, though it will likely be available on Android only. After all, it’s unlikely Apple will be open to having a competitor to its App Store on iOS. Even though Epic’s game store is, well, only limited to games.

Epic Games has the infrastructure, experience, and ability to deal with the intricacies of running a game store, and this can be largely attributed to its success with Fortnite. If publishers and developers are keen to work with Epic, there’s a very good chance the Epic Games store will succeed.