Steam is the overwhelmingly dominant PC game distributor, but the vast majority of game developers don’t believe Valve has achieved a 30% revenue cut. In a survey of more than 3,000 gaming industry experts (mainly North America and Europe), only 3% said it was fair for stores such as Steam and GOG to make up 30% of their revenue. did. Another 3% said more than 30% were justified (a strange answer!), But most people think they need to lower their cuts. 43% said a 10% or 15% reduction was justified.
The question asked in the 2021 GDC State of the Game Industry survey was, “How much do you think digital storefronts (Steam, Epic Games Store, App Store, etc.) can justify game revenue?” It was expressed by the word.
A similar question was asked in the GDC 2020 survey, which was directly targeted at Steam. “What do you think is the legitimate amount of game revenue that Steam takes?” In the survey, only 7% of respondents said more than 30% were justified. The 2019 survey asked “yes” or “no” questions asking if Steam justified the 30% reduction, and Valve didn’t work there either. 32% of respondents answered “no” and 27% answered “probably not”.
The 30/70 revenue split, which once seemed to be an unchanging industry standard, has been scrutinized in recent years, partly because it shook when Epic Games launched the Epic Games Store in late 2018. Epic declared a 30% reduction unreasonable, set the price at 12%, and challenged Steam, GOG, and Apple and Google’s app stores directly.
The epic competition did not scramble to participate in it, but it sprouted. Steam has lowered the cut, but only for the major publishers who have brought more than $ 10 million to the platform. Apple took the opposite approach, favoring smaller iOS developers by halving the 30% reduction in the App Store for developers with less than $ 1 million in annual revenue. Google’s Play Store will follow suit this year.
The Epic Games Store isn’t as feature-rich as Steam (especially if it’s community-related) and is currently limited to games selected by Epic, but anyone can send games to Steam for a $ 100 fee. Epic plans to open the store to more developers by the end of the year, which is still angry with PC gamers for its monopoly strategy, but continues to build new features. To enter the Steam realm, Epic has spent hundreds of millions of dollars trading to maintain the game from the Epic Store and Steam for a year. Burning in cash for now, Epic claims that a 12% reduction is enough to make a long-term profit, and game distributors will have to spend 30% to be viable. I disagree with the idea.
Steam’s 30% cut is clearly unpopular, so if Epic can actually keep the store at 12%, it could attract more developers and publishers in the long run. However, for now, the Epic Games Store has a long way to go to match the size of Steam. Only 6% of the developers surveyed say that most of their revenue comes from the Epic Games Store, and 78% say they don’t sell anything at the Epic Store. In contrast, only 40% of developers say they don’t sell games on Steam, and 47% of all the developers surveyed earn more than half of their revenue from Valve’s platform.
In connection with the big upheaval in Epic as an industry leader, Epic and Apple will appear in court next week to resolve the dispute that Fortnite withdrew from the App Store last year. The proceedings are sometimes misunderstood as Apple’s 30% cut size, but that’s not entirely correct. Epic claims 30% is too high, but allows Apple to handle its own payment processing on iOS devices, completely avoiding revenue cuts for in-app purchases on Fortnite and future iOS versions Is really necessary. Of the Epic Games Store.
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