Digital Devolver co-founder Graeme Struthers has said that the Steam versus Epic Games Store ‘needs to be reset’ as both distribution platforms have their own advantages and are at different stages in their development (via GameSpot).
Epic Games has taken to buying exclusives to destabilise the iron grip that Valve’s Steam store has on the PC game marketplace. In addition, the investment funneled from Epic Games to the developer allows small-scale, independent games to speed up development and add new features or team members to complete their vision. And, the company offers developers an 88 per cent cut of the game’s profits whereas Steam offers a 70 per cent share.
Not everyone has been swayed by Epic Games’ terms, and Struthers believes that the discourse surrounding the warring distribution platforms needs to just start over. ‘I feel like this conversation needs to be reset,’ he said to GameSpot at PAX Australia. ‘To come out of a model [before Steam] where we were, as a games publisher, maybe making 25 per cent, and that’s if you were successful. To be in a 70/30 relationship, it was transformative in every sense,’ Struthers explained the benefits of Steam to publishers.
‘And that led to realignment with relationships with developers. If there is more money and it’s more frequent, you can have better terms with developers,’ he continued. ‘We’ve all got our horror stories about doing audits on our publishers and finding huge discrepancies about what was being reported in sales. Here’s Steam – every month, accurate, straightforward, and transparent.’
Struthers has due regard for the development of Steam and how it changed the industry for the better, but he doesn’t understand why Epic exclusivity draws intense ire. ‘I play games on PlayStation, Xbox, and Switch, and Devolver – we’ve done console exclusives with Sony, with Microsoft – I think it’s good, but I think we have to respect Steam for what they’ve done,’ he explained. ‘Without them, none of this would have been a conversation in the first place.’
A competitor to Steam was inevitable, he added. ‘Epic have taken a view that their way of bringing content to their platform is far more generous revenue share and obviously they’ve been pushing exclusives – that’s great,’ Struthers said. And, he did make a very valid point about the key difference between the two distribution platforms.
‘You can’t compare the two things however as like for like,’ he explained. ‘Steam has invested I don’t know how many hundreds of millions of dollars in their platform; Epic have yet to do that. I’m not saying they won’t, and hopefully they will. In terms of the features and in terms of the toolsets for developers, there’s a ways to go. But competition is good.’
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