In the race to beat Steam, the Discord Store just made a huge move

Discord

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.”

Comments

Given that I already use Discord on the daily, seeing this huge news might actually drive me to buy games from them

Epic still has a more dev-friendly split for Unreal Engine games, since they absorb the 5% UE licensing cost into their 12% of the split.

10% is still less than 12% if you’re not using Unreal to produce the game.

Hence the "for Unreal Engine games" qualifier in my comment.

I did a dumb.

Turns out competition is good for a marketplace. Who knew!

The real question is can they match the tools for developers offer by Steam? Or better yet exceed them considering how much flak Steam has gotten for its hand of approach and lack of support features?

And this is why despite the Epic store having some exclusives it will be good for the industry as a whole.
I wonder how long it will take Valve to follow suit?

"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."

get fucking dunked on valve

Eh, call me back when Discord has workshop, market, cloud saves, achievements and all the other dev tools Steam provides. They do have voice and community covered well though.

Also for now they only have smaller indie games which are generally smaller games, and not many CDNs around the world yet. Do they even have regional pricing and customer support?

okay bye

100% Agreed on all points, very big reason why my group and I still use Steam..Regional pricing..absurd in this day an age not to have it.
Discord does not currently support regional pricing.

Regional pricing isn’t just pressing the "convert" button on the calculator, and you’d need a sizeable market to justify the hassle.

And also Apple App Store and Google Play Store.

Well the App Store is different since it’s a defacto monopoly.

App Store and Google Play have more justification due to the way credit card transactions work. Most credits card transactions have flat fee of a few dozen cents, and then a small percentage of the transaction. The flat fee means that if Apple/Google dropped their cut under 30%, they could very feasibly lose money each time someone bought an app on IAP on their platform (considering average transaction size is likely close to $1 for those app stores). This is less of an issue for PC games, where the average cost of a transaction is substantially higher.

"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."

If they can offer the same tools Steam does (automatic updates, achievements, community-created content) at a 90/10 split, Epic and Discord might actually be able to shake up the 70/30 gridlock that’s been in place for over a decade.
All they need to think of is a small hook to make things more convenient for customers, to give audiences an incentive to shift, as well.

Discord managed to get everybody to join their chat, basically killing IRC, Epic managed to create the most popular shooter in the past decade, so I’m certain they’ll be able to figure out that hook to grab customers away from Steam, too. I’m definitely way more confident in them being real alternatives to Steam (and better for both developers and consumers) than Itch.io.

It will be interesting if they also decide to forgo curation (like Steam recently finally officially embraced) or if they can keep their marketplace curated. It’s lazier and cheaper not to, so not any high hopes, but it does make your marketplace more accessible, friendlier, and ultimately better for the gaming community.

This is the weirdest game of chicken. Honestly, I half-expect the next contender to offer a 110/-10 split.

I hope that all this new competition pushes Steam to take less of a huge cut. It’s good for developers when they don’t have to give 30% of the asking price to the online store. I will be buying all games that interest me on other stores if I can find them.

Lol, I uninstalled that trash multiple times now, some how it finds a way to make certain games disconnect and lagg.

View All Comments
Back to top ↑