Devolver Co-Founder Wishes the Steam vs Epic Games Store Conversation to Be Reset and Take Place Properly

Oct 17
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While the Steam versus Epic Games store war continues unabated, there are some who would like the conversation on this hot topic to be reset.

Speaking with Gamespot at PAX Australia, Graeme Struthers (one of the Founders of Devolver Digital) said the conversation never properly took place as it should have. He then went on to outline the importance of Steam for publishers and developers in years past.

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I feel like this conversation needs to be reset. The conversation never really took place properly in my opinion.

Every month we were getting paid, and you were being paid accurately. We've all got our horror stories about doing audits on our publishers and finding huge discrepancies about what was being reported in sales. Here's Steam--every month, accurate, straightforward, and transparent.

To come out of a model [before Steam] where we were, as a games publisher, maybe making 25 percent, and that's if you were successful. To be in a 70/30 relationship, it was transformative in every sense. And that led to realignment with relationships with developers. If there is more money and it's more frequent, you can have better terms with developers.

At the same time, Struthers said he understands the need for competition as well as the fact that Epic Games uses timed exclusive as a way to bring more customers to the store.

Competition is going to come along at some point. Epic have taken a view that their way of bringing content to their platform is far more generous revenue share and obviously they've been pushing exclusives--that's great. And it's giving developers and publishers a choice. You can't compare the two things however as like for like. Steam has invested I don't know how many hundreds of millions of dollars in their platform; Epic have yet to do that. I'm not saying they won't, and hopefully they will. In terms of the features and in terms of the toolsets for developers, there's a ways to go. But competition is good.

The rise about developers and publishers going to Epic and exclusivity, it doesn't really hold up. I play games on PlayStation, Xbox, and Switch, and Devolver--we've done console exclusives with Sony, with Microsoft--I think it's good, but I think we have to respect Steam for what they've done. Without them, none of this would have been a conversation in the first place.

So far, Valve hasn't budged an inch to lower the 30% fee they take on each game published on Steam. We'll see if that changes in the future.

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