The Epic Games Store was launched half a year ago by Epic Games, the developer of the popular online shooter Fortnite. The store promised that unlike its chief competitor Steam, it would only take 12% profit from game developers, which is massively lower than the 30% cut that Valve earns via Steam. However, some PC players were not happy with Epic Games' strategy of locking down exclusive games to grow its platform, a move that Epic CEO Tim Sweeney defended recently.
In a lengthy Twitter thread, players slammed Sweeney for recruiting game developers to offer their games exclusively to the Epic Games Store. Sweeney is well aware of the fact that the decision to offer exclusive games is being met with strong resistance, especially to hardcore Steam users, who prefer to use a single launcher to manage their game libraries. However, Sweeney explained that the payout terms of major digital storefronts are a "disastrous situation for developers and publishers alike," also citing that Epic's exclusivity move is necessary.
Epic Games' CEO explained his thoughts regarding the controversy saying that Epic's goal with the exclusivity strategy is to make a big enough impact in the gaming industry that would prompt major digital stores such as Steam to offer better payout terms than the current 30/70 revenue split. If successful, Sweeney believes that this would result in better game development as costs for distribution would dramatically decrease, giving developers more means to reinvest finances in the actual development of video games.
"We believe exclusives are the only strategy that will change the 70/30 status quo at a large enough scale to permanently affect the whole game industry. The 30 percent store tax usually exceeds the entire profits of the developer who built the game that's sold. This is a disastrous situation for developers and publishers alike, so I believe the strategy of exclusives is proportionate to the problem."
If the Epic strategy either succeeds in building a second major storefront for PC games with an 88/12 revenue split, or even just leads other stores to significantly improve their terms, the result will be a major wave of reinvestment in game development and a lowering of costs.— Tim Sweeney (@TimSweeneyEpic) June 26, 2019
Of course, the grievances of those criticizing the Epic Games Store makes a lot of sense, especially since some users reported that Epic's launcher lacked features and is sometimes buggy. However, Epic's goal to shake up the industry and force major digital storefronts to offer better profit sharing to developers would ultimately benefit gamers in the end, given that creators would be in a better financial situation to offer better games to consumers.
Source: Tim Sweeney-Twitter