Epic Games is rolling in cash courtesy of Fortnite, the cool thing the kids are playing these days (or so some cool kids tell me). What exactly has it done with all of that moola? Use it to start a digital storefront designed to compete with the likes of Steam and Good Old Games.
"For the past five years, we've been building tools enabling Epic to bring our games directly to players. We built the Epic Games launcher on PC and Mac featuring Fortnite and Unreal Engine; we built a worldwide digital commerce ecosystem supporting dozens of payment methods; and we gained great economies of scale thanks to Fortnite's growth," said Tim Sweeney in his initial announcement of the Epic Games Store. All of this has put Epic Games on track to launch their storefront.
The main selling point that Epic Games wants everyone to be aware of is their dedication to showing fairness to developers who sell games on their platform. A major part of their announcement states that all developers will earn 88% of the revenue from sales on the Epic Games Store, a piece of information that was accompanied by a chart comparing an their 12-88 revenue split to Steam's 30-70 (or 30-55 in some cases) split.
The graphic also makes it clear why Epic Games is pursuing a piece of the digital distribution market: Devs that make use of Unreal Engine 4 automatically pay 5% of their game's revenue to Epic, but if Epic sells those games on their own platform, they can up that cut to 12% regardless of game engine, all while getting good PR for sharing more revenue with developers who sell through their store. It's a win-win relationship for Epic and those who sell through them.
Given that Epic now has strong ties to an entire generation of gamers through Fortnite and the Epic Games launcher, this makes complete sense. They have the technological infrastructure, a readily available pool of customers, and the unique position to reap larger profits while attracting more developers. Another benefit will be a more curated atmosphere that lacks on a service like Steam that has already opened the development floodgates for practically anything to make it onto the platform. Sweeney wrote that the service will help devs reach their players by giving users a newsfeed that will update with information and updates from developers.
Developers will also be able to reach out to streamers, vloggers, and bloggers through Epic's Support-A-Creator program to help get the word out about up-and-coming indies. The somewhat murky part of this is that through this program content creators will be able to receive a cut of the revenue (determined by the developer) from purchases made using their referral links. The first 24 months of the service will see Epic Games covering the first 5% of the revenue shared with content creators, so that's pretty neat.
Sweeney's announcement was a bit lacking in details regarding exactly when the service would launch, though more details will be coming on Thursday, December 6 during The Game Awards. The Epic Games Store will first launch for PC and Mac before spreading to Android devices and beyond over the next year.
Are you excited for a new digital store in the mix? Is a bigger revenue share for the devs enough of an incentive for you as a customer to switch over to Epic?
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