Earlier today, Epic Games announced plans to launch a new online store for games. This new online store will be a direct competitor to the largest PC digital distribution platform, Steam. The announcement of the Epic Games Store comes off the recent announcement of Steam implementing a new tier system for revenue sharing that upset many independent developers in the development community. When it comes to revenue sharing, the Epic Games Store will offer a bigger cut to developers at a split of 88/12 as opposed to Steam’s typical 70/30 split. Epic even plans to cover the 5% royalty fee for games made using the company’s Unreal Engine 4 that appear on the store.
The announcement of this new endeavor by Epic Games came via a post from the company’s CEO Tim Sweeney on the official Unreal blog. While no official launch date was given for the store, it is stated that it will launch soon. The store is set to debut with “a hand-curated set of games on PC and Mac” before eventually opening the store to “additional games and other open platforms throughout 2019.” The Epic Games Store will also allow games made with a variety of different game engines to appear on the store, though the first games featured will be made within Unreal Engine, Unity, and internal engines.
The store will also allow developers to control their store pages with newsfeeds that will appear “front-and-center” on the page and allow developers to communicate with their audience directly. Consumers will be subscribed to a game’s newsfeed after purchasing the game, and will also be able to receive email updates from developers if they provide an email address. In regards to ads appearing on a developer’s page, Sweeney stated, “There will be no store-placed ads or cross-marketing of competing games on your page, and no paid ads in search results.”
The Epic Games Store will also provide a Support-A-Creator program which will connect developers and content creators on a variety of platforms to bring more exposure to a developer’s game. The program will also reward the content creators their own split of the game’s revenue, set by the developers, for the extra spotlight they bring to the game. Sweeney even announced that the company “will cover the first 5% of creator revenue-sharing for the first 24 months.”
The Epic Games Store will be another new contender for digital distribution platforms after Discord joined the fray earlier this year. The news also comes off the back of the company receiving over a billion dollars in new investments recently. Another thing that could have hinted at plans for this new store was that Epic Games dropped the Google Play Store upon the release of Fortnite on Android devices and launched the game on their own.