Friday, April 26th 2019

Epic's Tim Sweeney Says They'd Stop Hunting for Exclusives if Steam Matched Epic Games Store in Comission Rates

Epic CEO Tim Sweeney has come out with an interesting commitment: that EPIC would stop hunting for exclusives in the PC platform is Steam were to match them in their 88% return to developers for each game sold. Being a developer themselves, Epic games have certainly looked into creating their own storefront as a way to escape the clutches of Steam's cut in the digital, PC distribution market (a move that had already been done by the likes of EA and Ubisoft, if you'll remember). A commitment to stop hunting for exclusives (and thus segregating the PC games offering across different platforms) is a clear indicator of Epic's mission with the Epic Games Store: to bring back power and returns to developers such as them (while taking a cut from the profits for themselves, obviously).

Check out after the break for the full content of Sweeney's remarks regarding their Games Store and the problem with Steam. I, for one, don't see much of a problem with virtual segregation of games across multiple PC-bound platforms - one of the strengths of PC gaming is actually the ability to install multiple applications that increase functionality, after all. But if the end game of all of this is simply to give more back to developers and Epic's move facilitates that by forcing Valve's hand in matching them for fear of drying profits - then so be it.
If Steam committed to a permanent 88% revenue share for all developers and publishers without major strings attached, Epic would hastily organize a retreat from exclusives (while honoring our partner commitments) and consider putting our own games on Steam.30% store dominance is the #1 problem for PC developers, publishers, and everyone who relies on those businesses for their livelihood. We're determined to fix it and this is the one approach that will effect major change.

Such a move would be a glorious moment in the history of PC gaming, and would have a sweeping impact on other platforms for generations to come.
Then stores could go back to just being nice places to buy stuff, rather than the Game Developer IRS.

The key "no major strings attached" points are: games can use any online systems like friends and accounts they choose, games are free to interoperate across platforms and stores, the store doesn't tax revenue on other stores or platforms (e.g. if you play Fortnite on iOS+PC)…

More "no major strings attached": if you play the game on multiple platforms, stuff you've bought can be available everywhere; no onerous certification requirements. Essentially, the spirit of an open platform where the store is just a place to find games and pay for stuff.

Tim Sweeney (@TimSweeneyEpic) April 25, 2019
Source: DSO Gaming
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224 Comments on Epic's Tim Sweeney Says They'd Stop Hunting for Exclusives if Steam Matched Epic Games Store in Comission Rates

#26
olymind1
newtekie1, post: 4037200, member: 20670"
It isn't just blind hatred, there is reason to dislike the way that Epic is doing things. Think of it like this, if Intel was paying companies(like Dell and HP) large sums of money to only use Intel processors, would you be OK with it? No. In fact, they tried it, people freaked out about, and Intel even went to court because of it, several times.

If the platform itself, and the costs savings that come with it, was the only thing Epic was using to get these exclusives, I'd be fine with it. But that isn't the case, they are paying huge lump sums of money to get exclusives. Which very clearly shows that devs, and Epic themselves, know the platform alone isn't worth the what they save on commision.
Except you can run Epic Store on any PC. If Epic Store would be Linux only, then i would understand the upset, but this is just an another game launcher for windows.

From the developers perspective they probably are happy for the one time large income, then there is the lower commission.

You could be angry at Blizzard too because they don't release their games on steam, or Bioware because they don't release games on steam anymore, or...
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#27
64K
olymind1, post: 4037270, member: 166087"
You could be angry at Blizzard too because they don't release their games on steam, or Bioware because they don't release games on steam anymore, or...
That's not what most people are angry about. There's really nothing wrong with a Publisher making their own games made by their own Developers exclusive to their own store. Valve has been doing that from the beginning on Steam. What most people are angry about is Epic paying other Publishers to make their games timed exclusives on EGS.
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#28
NRANM
Patriot, post: 4037260, member: 77367"
That is actually also fairly accurate... Can't use AMD cpu's till they are 1yr old.
I don't recall any such specific details, but I could be wrong.

And even if that were the case, there is still the difference that Intel acted from a position of dominance, whereas Epic can hardly be called dominant.
Also, Intel's practice could be considered harmful in some way to the consumer, as in it limited people's choice, and possibly prevented them from receiving a superior product (should AMD's processors had been better for the taks(s) the user needed the computer for).
In the case of Steam vs. Epic consumers can still receive the exact same product they pay for. In fact, one could make an argument that the extra financial support from Epic could lead to a better and more polished product.

64K, post: 4037275, member: 148270"
What most people are angry about is Epic paying other Publishers to make their games timed exclusives on EGS.
Which strikes me as outrage based (mostly) on morality and ethics, because the actual, practical downsides for the consumer are minor. Apart from reviews, every other feature that the Epic Game Store is missing seems insignificant.
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#29
Markosz
Absolute non-sense... They try to play the good guys, like they are doing a favour for everyone, but it's obvious what they are doing.
If Steam suddenly matched their rates then they'd s*** their pants and do even more exclusives to stay relevant.
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#30
theoneandonlymrk
KllR007, post: 4037082, member: 149423"
lol. He don't have problem that Sony and MS taking 30% ? It is standard for long. He think his 12% is deal-breaker ? Cmon, if he would believe it they wouldn't buy exclusivities because every developer would be gladly with them.. Instead they need to buy off games days before release and making their monopoly on PC gaming.
Exactly, but I have this down as a community pr play, " hey guy's were not so Bad and it's all Steam's fault".

But in saying that if steam did bring down costs i wouldn't complain.

However none of this will happen, it's BS if steam were at 88%/12% epic would have still created their store and would still chase exclusive games to push it, he's only saying it because he knows it won't happen.
Steam have to make up for those keys some devs sell off to grey sites cheap ,while moaning about their cut.

It's complex eh.
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#31
64K
NRANM, post: 4037295, member: 170117"
Apart from reviews, every other feature that the Epic Game Store is missing seems insignificant.
But we all have to be careful with that. I don't care about most of Steam's features and I certainly don't care about Steam reviews but most people do so I can't say that those features shouldn't matter to anyone.

theoneandonlymrk, post: 4037306, member: 82332"
Exactly, but I have this down as a community pr play, " hey guy's were not so Bad and it's all Steam's fault".

But in saying that if steam did bring down costs i wouldn't complain.

However none of this will happen, it's BS if steam were at 88%/12% epic would have still created their store and would still chase exclusive games to push it, he's only saying it because he knows it won't happen.
Steam have to make up for those keys some devs sell off to grey sites cheap ,while moaning about their cut.

It's complex eh.
From some of Sweeney's tweets I gather he is trying to paint the exclusives as a means to force Valve to lower their cut on Steam to help other Developers and Publishers. In one he said, "30% store dominance is the #1 problem for PC developers, publishers, and everyone who relies on those businesses for their livelihood."

imo Sweeney is doing the exclusives to help EGS get a head start. I doubt he's concerned very much with the welfare of competitor Publishers.
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#32
noel_fs
the hero we dont deserve
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#33
neatfeatguy
NRANM, post: 4037295, member: 170117"
Which strikes me as outrage based (mostly) on morality and ethics, because the actual, practical downsides for the consumer are minor. Apart from reviews, every other feature that the Epic Game Store is missing seems insignificant.
Just because a feature is seems insignificant to you doesn't mean it is to others.

NRANM, post: 4037295, member: 170117"
In the case of Steam vs. Epic consumers can still receive the exact same product they pay for. In fact, one could make an argument that the extra financial support from Epic could lead to a better and more polished product.
That just seems like a silly idea. Just because a company can possibly save money or make more because they're selling on EGS or even their own digital store doesn't mean the company will provide a better or more polished product.

Bethesda pushed out Fallout 76 on their own store - game came out riddled with bugs and exploits.
Diablo 3 came out on Blizzard's store - game was a step back from what Diablo 2 was, plus the push for real money transactions in game.....
BattleField V came out on Origin - same rehashed crap as previous BattleField games (at least in my opinion)
BattleFront 2 came out on Origin - crappy reskinned BattleField game (at least in my opinion)

These all are probably not the best examples, but you get the idea. The publisher didn't have to worry about forking over any extra cash to a third party to help distribute their games, but the games didn't come out better or more polished.
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#34
rtwjunkie
PC Gaming Enthusiast
Imsochobo, post: 4037115, member: 66457"
they give you data, they fix drivers,
Wait what? What data? And when have they ever fixed drivers? Can you please explain both of those better?

Metroid, post: 4037194, member: 178915"
Epic's Tim Sweeney = aka trump of the gaming industry hehe

"Let's undo everything and get a better deal.", This is what trump is doing ehhe
Leave politics out of this. It has no place in this thread.
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#35
NRANM
64K, post: 4037307, member: 148270"
But we all have to be careful with that. I don't care about most of Steam's features and I certainly don't care about Steam reviews but most people do so I can't say that those features shouldn't matter to anyone.
neatfeatguy, post: 4037310, member: 70848"
Just because a feature is seems insignificant to you doesn't mean it is to others.
Perhaps I expressed myself incorrectly.

What I meant was that the core functionality is there:
- purchase game
- download/install game
- play game.

Everything else is secondary.
Of course I agree that more features and functionality is a good thing. I am all for providing users with more options, but is the lack of these extra features really that detrimental to one's experience and enjoyment while playing a game?
Besides, some of the missing features are planned anyway.

neatfeatguy, post: 4037310, member: 70848"
That just seems like a silly idea. Just because a company can possibly save money or make more because they're selling on EGS or even their own digital store doesn't mean the company will provide a better or more polished product.

Bethesda pushed out Fallout 76 on their own store - game came out riddled with bugs and exploits.
Diablo 3 came out on Blizzard's store - game was a step back from what Diablo 2 was, plus the push for real money transactions in game.....
BattleField V came out on Origin - same rehashed crap as previous BattleField games (at least in my opinion)
BattleFront 2 came out on Origin - crappy reskinned BattleField game (at least in my opinion)

These all are probably not the best examples, but you get the idea. The publisher didn't have to worry about forking over any extra cash to a third party to help distribute their games, but the games didn't come out better or more polished.
Not only are these not the best examples, they are awful examples. I wasn't referring to huge and wealthy companies that have flops not because they cannot fund them but because they don't care. I was referring to smaller developers who have much limited resources to work with, and for whom every additional bit of funding can actually help quite a bit.

Like for example Julian Gollop, who said that the extra money would be put to good use by allowing them to expand and update Phoenix Point, and to allow backers to receive all DLC released in the first year for free. Now, whether they will actually do all that is an entirely different topic of discussion. The point is it is possible, and the consumer can only stand to gain from this.
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#36
64K
NRANM, post: 4037337, member: 170117"
Perhaps I expressed myself incorrectly.

What I meant was that the core functionality is there:
- purchase game
- download/install game
- play game.

Everything else is secondary.
Of course I agree that more features and functionality is a good thing. I am all for providing users with more options, but is the lack of these extra features really that detrimental to one's experience and enjoyment while playing a game?
Besides, some of the missing features are planned anyway.
No problem and not to single you out. It's just that Sweeney is making the comment that Steam should lower their cut to match Epic right now when Valve has invested so much more effort and money in Steam to make it the best store out there. He shouldn't be making comments that Steam should match Epic's cut until Epic has paid their dues like Valve and brought the promised new features to EGS.

If one day EGS does indeed rival Steam as a store then his words would carry much more weight. At least with me.
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#37
Dimi
R-T-B, post: 4037264, member: 41983"
How on earth did you conclude they hand those out for free? I certainly would not assume such, but I've never published on steam so could be wrong. Citation please as it seems outlandish.
Of course valve provides them... who else would? They MAKE steam. The stores he listed aren't key resellers. They sell new unused keys.
"Steam keys are meant to be a convenient tool for game developers to sell their game on other stores and at retail. Steam keys are free and can be activated by customers on Steam to grant a license to a product.

Valve provides the same free bandwidth and services to customers activating a Steam key that it provides to customers buying a license on Steam. We ask you to treat Steam customers no worse than customers buying Steam keys outside of Steam. While there is no fee to generate keys on Steam, we ask that partners use the service judiciously.

For more information on how keys work for customers, visit the customer facing support site here."

Source: https://partner.steamgames.com/doc/features/keys

They literally have 0% cut on every key sold outside of Steam.
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#38
NRANM
64K, post: 4037340, member: 148270"
No problem and not to single you out. It's just that Sweeney is making the comment that Steam should lower their cut to match Epic right now when Valve has invested so much more effort and money in Steam to make it the best store out there. He shouldn't be making comments that Steam should match Epic's cut until Epic has paid their dues like Valve and brought the promised new features to EGS.

If one day EGS does indeed rival Steam as a store then his words would carry much more weight. At least with me.
The comments he made are his to make. I can't tell the guy what to say, and what not to. :)

But yes, I agree that this was basically nothing more than empty virtue signaling.

My general point the Epic Game Store has never been that there aren't any valid criticisms about it, but that a lot of people are simply overreacting.
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#39
Shihabyooo
NdMk2o1o, post: 4037221, member: 83825"
This is true though all of those games you never needed the epic game store for afaik
The new UT does and the rest came before the EGS was a thing, but that wasn't my point. My point wasn't about which platforms those titles were published on, my point was that Epic has a considerably high brand recognition and are a well-known, major player in the video games industry.
Even without Fortnight they could've launched an alluring platform, though I won't deny that fortnight did give EGS a huge boost.

neatfeatguy, post: 4037310, member: 70848"
These all are probably not the best examples, but you get the idea. The publisher didn't have to worry about forking over any extra cash to a third party to help distribute their games, but the games didn't come out better or more polished.
But then you have Overwatch, Battlefield 3 and 1 (I'm assuming from your examples that you're ok with them), some post-2011 FIFAs (I don't play them, but their fanbase sure haven't been shutting up about since then!), latest The Sims, Crysis 3 (compared to the mess that was 2), The Division, etc, etc..

I think we're both picking off the wrong tree here though. Publishers/devs who have their own platforms probably won't be troubled that much with development costs (greed exec's bonuses are what matters), it's your smaller houses that would see more benefit of this, but unfortunetly, we don't really have enough data on that front to make a judgement (though the fact that many devs welcome Epic's initiative makes me more inclined to go the pro-88% cut side on this issue).
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#40
moproblems99
noel_fs, post: 4037308, member: 172191"
the hero we dont deserve
I disagree. 'Gamers' usually get everything they deserve. Battle royales, loot boxes, drm, etc. You name it, they asked for it in one manner or another.
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#41
64K
moproblems99, post: 4037367, member: 155919"
I disagree. 'Gamers' usually get everything they deserve. Battle royales, loot boxes, drm, etc. You name it, they asked for it in one manner or another.
It's what all of the cool kids want. :p
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#42
Razrback16
Tim Sweeney can keep running his mouth all he wants. I'm still not buying anything from his store.
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#43
newtekie1
Semi-Retired Folder
NRANM, post: 4037219, member: 170117"
Except in Epic's case it is timed exclusivity, which makes your comparison inaccurate at the very least.
It's still exclusivity, and if Intel was paying Dell and HP to not use Ryzen processors even if only for a year, people would be pissed.

NRANM, post: 4037219, member: 170117"
If the platform itself and the cost savings was all Epic had to offer, few people would switch. Why would they? Users tend to not like change. Why would a user switch to a different platform if the platform he is currently using offers him everything he needs? Even if Epic offers(ed) slightly lower prices, users would still most likely stick with Steam, i.e. the price cut would not be an incentive enough for users to switch, instead they would be willing to pay a higher price just to keep using what they are used to.
Epic needs a large incentive to entice users to come to them. Exclusives are such an incentive.

Incidentally, I'm also in the minority who are baffled that so many "gamers" tend to follow stores and companies, and not the games themselves.
And that's the point, and the reason Epic's statement on the matter is bullshit. They are asking for lower commission because they know their platform is inferior. Asking Steam to lower their price ignores the fact that Steam offers a lot more and is a much more developed platform.

olymind1, post: 4037270, member: 166087"
Except you can run Epic Store on any PC. If Epic Store would be Linux only, then i would understand the upset, but this is just an another game launcher for windows.

From the developers perspective they probably are happy for the one time large income, then there is the lower commission.

You could be angry at Blizzard too because they don't release their games on steam, or Bioware because they don't release games on steam anymore, or...
That doesn't matter. The point is you can't run any game on any platform. I mean, you can still buy an AMD processor, you just can't get an HP or a Dell if you want to use AMD. So what's the big deal if Intel pays them to not use AMD processors? Right?
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#44
rtwjunkie
PC Gaming Enthusiast
newtekie1, post: 4037381, member: 20670"
They are asking for lower commission because they know their platform is inferior. Asking Steam to lower their price ignores the fact that Steam offers a lot more and is a much more developed platform.
Who cares? No matter what launcher I use, and I use them all, I play the GAME that is there. That’s why I play on any of them, for the games. I don’t play Steam or Origin or Uplay or EGS or Galaxy. I just play the game.

Anything else is just grown people throwing fits like entitled and spoiled children do. It’s sad.
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#45
R-T-B
Dimi, post: 4037342, member: 66173"
"Steam keys are meant to be a convenient tool for game developers to sell their game on other stores and at retail. Steam keys are free and can be activated by customers on Steam to grant a license to a product.

Valve provides the same free bandwidth and services to customers activating a Steam key that it provides to customers buying a license on Steam. We ask you to treat Steam customers no worse than customers buying Steam keys outside of Steam. While there is no fee to generate keys on Steam, we ask that partners use the service judiciously.

For more information on how keys work for customers, visit the customer facing support site here."

Source: https://partner.steamgames.com/doc/features/keys

They literally have 0% cut on every key sold outside of Steam.
I appreciate that. It's kind of hard to believe, but apparently, quite true. Steam just earned some serious developer-cred for offering this in my eyes.

I still would point out valve is ultimately generating the keys though (at their expense, it would seem, and at the developers request).
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#46
Imsochobo
rtwjunkie, post: 4037311, member: 56774"
Wait what? What data? And when have they ever fixed drivers? Can you please explain both of those better?


Leave politics out of this. It has no place in this thread.
Intel and AMD open source drivers mostly linux drivers, controller support and lots around that.
Vulkan on mac through MoltenVK to bring easier porting of games to mac platform.

Data through steam hardware survey for instance, also you can get pretty good data on country of purchase, age groups etc so you know who actually buys your game etc.

It's a LOT more they provide.
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#47
FordGT90Concept
"I go fast!1!11!1!"
Sweeney is right: the 12-17% revenue share model easily sways publishers when they're offered pre-sales money up front. If Steam was even 20%, Epic's exclusive offer becomes drastically less attractive. At 15%, I doubt there would be any takers. Epic's exclusives are attractive because many publishers see Steam's 30% as unfair and exclusivity is icing on the Epic cake.

R-T-B, post: 4037399, member: 41983"
I appreciate that. It's kind of hard to believe, but apparently, quite true. Steam just earned some serious developer-cred for offering this in my eyes.

I still would point out valve is ultimately generating the keys though (at their expense, it would seem, and at the developers request).
Valve can't play gate keeper except in extreme circumstances (e.g. lots of keys and virtually no Steam sales). The reason for this is because the publisher owns the IP and therefore access to it. If Steam fights the publisher, they risk the game leaving Steam which means less exposure for Steam.
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#48
theoneandonlymrk
64K, post: 4037307, member: 148270"
But we all have to be careful with that. I don't care about most of Steam's features and I certainly don't care about Steam reviews but most people do so I can't say that those features shouldn't matter to anyone.



From some of Sweeney's tweets I gather he is trying to paint the exclusives as a means to force Valve to lower their cut on Steam to help other Developers and Publishers. In one he said, "30% store dominance is the #1 problem for PC developers, publishers, and everyone who relies on those businesses for their livelihood."

imo Sweeney is doing the exclusives to help EGS get a head start. I doubt he's concerned very much with the welfare of competitor Publishers.
Yeah , all while this white night takes a cut off others work with no better then a tombolla booth to sell games from, What features exactly Do They add for that 12%, at least steam Do something.
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#49
newtekie1
Semi-Retired Folder
rtwjunkie, post: 4037386, member: 56774"
Who cares?
Obviously a lot of people care, myself included.

rtwjunkie, post: 4037386, member: 56774"
No matter what launcher I use, and I use them all, I play the GAME that is there. That’s why I play on any of them, for the games. I don’t play Steam or Origin or Uplay or EGS or Galaxy. I just play the game.

Anything else is just grown people throwing fits like entitled and spoiled children. It’s sad.
If all they did was launch the game, yeah, you'd have a point. But all the features that Steam adds is worth it to a lot of people. It is also, obviously, part of the reason Steam can charge a higher commision. They have put a lot of money into their platform and that platform has a shitload of useful features that Epic is missing.
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#50
SniperHF
Aside from that I just don't believe him when he says they wouldn't have gone after exclusives or would back off if there were changes, If we take him at his word this is essentially a form of attempted price fixing to help and or enrich publishers. It's not a company going out and delivering the product more efficiently and better, reducing costs and having consumers pick them. Then Valve would see the change in customer behavior and adjust. Instead they are attempting to slowly strong arm another player in the market to do things the way they want without it having be decided by consumer choice. There's an Adam Smith quote for that you can look up. If Valve truly offers the better service for both publishers and gamers, they'll continue to exist as they are even if their market share drops a bit. In the end this could all do mostly nothing.

Though the problem is gamers are not making purely rational decisions and that will always skew the market. They aren't price shopping bleach at Walmart vs Target. Or comparing that they can pick up better quality shirts at Target while paying a little more for bleach in the process. It's more an emotional decision to buy Metro Exodus from Epic as opposed to saving your money/waiting or buying another shooter. Origin/UPlay and others have been accepted over time even if grudgingly, Epic is probably right they will be too eventually. Cause the vast majority of gamers will always go where their heart wants in the end.

Or to compare the situation to something similar, Dirt Rally 2.0 has online only single player. Absurd. I won't buy it. But it really want to play it. I love Dirt Rally 1.
Most people aren't me and if they really love Dirt Rally 1 are just gonna buy 2.0 regardless. They might even complain about it being always online after they buy it, but they won't refund it. That's why Epic will carve out a place for itself permanently. How big is yet to be determined.
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