There is perhaps no bigger digital storefront than Steam on PC. For years, it has been, and still is, the de facto marketplace for players itching to get the latest titles. But a newcomer might disrupt Valve's place on the throne, and it's courtesy of none other than Epic Games.
That's right — the studio behind ultra-popular video game Fortnite and the one responsible for game-making software Unreal Engine has announced that it's currently developing a digital store akin to Steam. It will feature third-party games, which could threaten Steam's dominant position as the leading distributor of PC titles.
Epic Games Is Making Its Own Games Store
Epic Games' store is apparently set to launch soon. It will open its doors with a select number of games for both the PC and Mac, and it's poised to open up to more developers next year.
"For the past five years, we've been building tools enabling Epic to bring our games directly to players," the company writes in a blog post. "We built the Epic Games launcher on PC and Mac featuring Fortnite and Unreal Engine; we built a worldwide digital commerce ecosystem supporting dozens of payment methods; and we gained great economies of scale thanks to Fortnite's growth."
According to Epic Games, the main principles that drove it to create this store are "fair economics and a direct relationship with players." That seems to be a direct slight at Steam, which recently updated its revenue sharing policy and was met with significant backlash from smaller and independent game developers — they claim the new policies favor bigger studios.
Epic Games' implementation will be a lot different, on the other hand. All developers, regardless of their scale and success, will earn 88 percent of profits, with Epic Games taking just 12 percent.
"Developers receive 88 percent of revenue. There are no tiers or thresholds. Epic takes 12 percent. And if you're using Unreal Engine, Epic will cover the 5 percent engine royalty for sales on the Epic Games store, out of Epic's 12 percent."
In addition to this, Epic Games plans to bring its Support-A-Creator program to its new game store. Borrowed from Fortnite, the Support-A-Creator feature lets a popular streamer earn $5 for every 10,000 units of in-game currency spent by other players who pledge their support. For Epic Games' store, creators will get a piece of the full sale of each paid game, although the amount will depend on the developers.
Games will not have DRM, although that's still up to individual developers' decision. Also, Epic Games says it's not going to add social features in the store, such as game streaming or forums. Like Steam, the store will offer refunds as well — handled through customer support at first but will soon transition to an automated, 14-day, no-questions-asked return policy. Finally, it'll be available outside the United States, except for "China and where prohibited by US law, such as North Korea and Iran."