Epic Games announced that it will soon launch its own digital storefront, with the first wave rolling out on Mac and Windows before broadening to Android and other platforms later in 2019.
There will be a “hand-curated set of games” available to purchase when the store first opens in the coming weeks, and that catalogue will expand throughout the year. Buyers will be able to access it either online or through the Epic Games launcher to purchase games, but everything else will be handled through the proprietary application. Fortnite players are already users of the launcher, as Epic Games makes its games exclusively available through it. That will continue.
Epic also said it will not institute any required DRM on games sold through the store.
But what’s most novel is how Epic Games plans to work with developers who sell their games through its storefront. In a blog post on the Unreal Engine website, Epic detailed the profit margins for developers first and foremost, with the majority of revenue going straight to developers.
“Developers receive 88% of revenue,” the company wrote. “There are no tiers or thresholds. Epic takes 12%. And if you’re using Unreal Engine, Epic will cover the 5% engine royalty for sales on the Epic Games store, out of Epic’s 12%.”
Epic’s intention to favor developers seems to be in direct response to Valve, which quietly tweaked its own revenue splits last weekend to prioritize huge sellers on its Steam marketplace. That has since received blowback from indie developers, who feel as though they are further disadvantaged by the new revenue tiers.
CEO Tim Sweeney further explained the thinking behind the 88/12-percent split in an interview with Game Informer about the storefront.
“The 70% / 30% split was a breakthrough more than a decade ago with the advent of Steam, the Apple App Store, and Google Play,” he said. “But today, digital software stores have grown into a $25,000,000,000+ business worldwide across all platforms, yet the economies of scale have not benefited developers. In our analysis, stores are marking up their costs 300% to 400%. We simply aim to give developers a better deal.”
Developers will also be able to have full control over the store pages for their games, and buyers will be immediately invited to a newsfeed that puts them in contact with developers about updates and other games.
Epic will also incorporate its recently launched Support-A-Creator program, meant to hook up developers with content creators, like streamers and YouTubers. Those creators will get a part of the profits as well, depending on the relationship they have with the developer.
“If you opt to participate, creators who refer players to buy your game will receive a share of the revenue that you set (tracked by code or affiliate marketing link),” Epic explained. “To jumpstart the creator economy, Epic will cover the first 5% of creator revenue-sharing for the first 24 months.”
More information is set to come on Dec. 6, during The Game Awards 2018.