Discord, one of the most popular voice chat and community platforms for PC gaming, only started selling games in August. The company announced Friday that it will double down on its role as a marketplace in 2019 by allowing developers of all sizes to self-publish games — while offering an aggressive 90/10 revenue split, which will give more money to developers than most other game distribution platforms currently do.
According to the company’s announcement of this new initiative, it all started with a question, “Why does it cost 30% to distribute games?” After a bit of research, Discord decided that there was no reason the process should cost that much. “Turns out, it does not cost 30% to distribute games in 2018. [...] We discovered that we can build amazing developer tools, run them and give developers the majority of the revenue share.”
This announcement comes at a time when the landscape of publishing games on PC is rapidly shifting. Valve’s Steam platform has been the major player in the market for over a decade, but publishers who felt they deserved a larger split of their games’ sales than the 70 percent offered by Valve began to create their own distribution platforms over the past few years. With the recent announcement of the new Epic Games store, which offers developers 88 percent of revenue, it appears that things are shifting toward offering larger margins to game makers — keeping developers’ best interests at the heart of the platforms.
While some of gaming’s largest companies, such as Blizzard and Bethesda, have created their own distribution platforms with infrastructures built in for things like security, downloading and patching games, it may be easier for smaller developers to continue to go through other platforms. According to Discord, the company hopes that the new split will favor these developers and help them get back to “focusing on what’s really important — making great games and cultivating amazing communities.”