A hot potato: It’s no secret that many PC gaming fans are less than thrilled about the Epic Games Store’s tendency to secure exclusive games for the platform, but according to company CEO Tim Sweeney, these will ultimately benefit consumers.
In a Twitter thread, Sweeney said its exclusives were the “only strategy” of ending the current 70/30 industry standard model, in which 70 percent of a game’s sales goes to the developer/publisher, and 30 percent goes to a storefront. The Epic Games Store uses an 88/12 split that’s more generous to those responsible for creating the titles.
Sweeney added that while independent stores have done great work over the years, none of them, apart from big publishers such as EA, Activision, and Ubisoft, have managed to reach 5 percent of Steam’s scale.
"Nearly all have more features than Epic; and the ability to discount games is limited by various external pressures,” he wrote.
Sweeney notes that the 30 percent store tax often exceeds the entire profits of the developer who built the game, creating a “disastrous situation,” but should Epic Games become the second largest storefront behind Steam, or encourage rivals to improve their terms, “the result will be a major wave of reinvestment in game development and a lowering of costs.”
Will the resulting 18% increase in developer and publisher revenue benefit gamers? Such gains are generally split among (1) reinvestment, (2) profit, and (3) price reduction. The more games are competing with each other, the more likely the proceeds are to go to (1) and (3).— Tim Sweeney (@TimSweeneyEpic) June 26, 2019
Metro Exodus, Phoenix Point, and Borderlands 3 are just some titles that faced a backlash for their Epic Store exclusivity deals, but this hasn’t affected their sales. World War Z, which isn’t available on Steam, has sold over 700,000 copies on the Epic Games Store, while Metro Exodus sold double that of its predecessor. Whatever people think of Epic exclusives, you can expect them to continue.
Of course, there are LOTS of challenges along the way, and Epic is fully committed to solving all problems that arise for gamers are for our partners as the Epic Games store grows.— Tim Sweeney (@TimSweeneyEpic) June 26, 2019