Epic’s Tim Sweeney Promises to Forego Exclusive Deals if Valve Matches Epic Games Store’s 88-12% Revenue Split

Apr 25, 2019
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The debate surrounding the Epic Games Store and its controversial timed exclusivity deals has a fresh new chapter today as Epic boss Tim Sweeney revealed on Twitter the conditions that would end this aggressive campaign for exclusive games.

Sweeney said Epic would back down if Valve matched the 88-12 percent revenue split proposed to developers on the Epic Games Store. He even went as far as adding that if it happened, Epic would consider putting their own games on Steam.

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That’s a loaded question! But Epic will stay the course. 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.

You mean permanently and without major strings attached?

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.

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.

Keep in mind, most of the other problems developers and publishers face (not all problems, but most) can be solved with money, and that extra 18% provides a very significant amount of new funding.

At the same time, there would be conditions to this ‘surrender’ of sorts, which Sweeney outlined in the following way.

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.

Just a few minutes ago, the Epic boss also replied to GamesBeat’s Jeff Grubb, who posited that it wouldn’t be possible for Valve to do this given that they generate unlimited free codes for developers and publishers.

Epic offers developers free codes everywhere for non-exclusives, and free codes for exclusives through Humble and hopefully more in the future.

The cost of download bandwidth is much lower than the cost of payment processing and purchase support, which is born by the key seller.

The big question is, of course, whether Valve would actually do that. Independent developers certainly think getting only 70% of their revenues is not acceptable anymore in 2019.

Only time will tell and in the meantime, Epic will probably continue to aggressively pursue temporary exclusive deals for its store.

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