Steam is widely considered the de facto platform for PC games, VR or otherwise, but Unreal Engine creators Epic Games want change that with a new storefront that they say will leave more revenue to developers than Steam and other major digital distribution platforms.

Update (12:20 PM ET): Tim Sweeney has confirmed in a Game Informer interview that VR games will have a home on the platform, although the store “doesn’t have any sort of VR user interface.”

Both Steam and the Oculus Store take an industry standard cut of 30% of a game’s revenue, although Epic CEO Tim Sweeney today announced in a blogpost that the company would soon be creating their own dedicated storefront that will only take a 12% slice of the pie; that includes games created with Epic’s Unreal Engine 4, Unity, and other game engines.

Fittingly dubbed ‘Epic Games Store’, the distribution platform will likely take the place of the Epic Games launcher on PC and Mac, which most famously features battle royale sensation Fortnite and the Unreal Engine itself.

Image courtesy Epic Games

There wasn’t a specific announce surrounding support for VR games (see update), although as Khronos Group’s OpenXR standard marches ever onward in its mission to make market fragmentation a thing of the past, it’s possible those “open platforms” will also include VR. Epic Games is a prominent member of the Khronos Group working alongside a host of industry pros including Oculus, HTC, Valve, Microsoft, Google, AMD, NVIDIA, and Unity.

Epic Games Store is said to launch soon and begin what Sweeney calls “a long journey to advance the cause of all developers.” The store will first launch with a set of games curated by Epic for PC and Mac, and then allow other games and “open platforms” throughout 2019.

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Content creators like YouTubers can also take part in what the company calls ‘Support-A-Creator’, an opt-in program that provides revenue-sharing kickbacks to creators who refer players to buy a game on the Epic Games Store. Developers can set a specific percentage shared to content creators, although Epic intends to cover the first 5% of creator revenue-sharing for the first 24 months.

“We’ve built this store and its economic model so that Epic’s interests are aligned with your interests,” explains Sweeney, talking directly to developers. “Because of the high volume of Fortnite transactions, we can process store payments, serve bandwidth, and support customers very efficiently. From Epic’s 12% store fee, we’ll have a profitable business we’ll grow and reinvest in for years to come!”

Sweeney says more details (and launch games) for Epic Games Store will be revealed at The Game Awards this Thursday, December 6th.

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  • JesuSaveSouls

    More competition means more software,hardware and lower prices for the customers.

    • David Herrington

      ^This guy competes.

    • CQCoder

      I’m curious how much lower you think prices can go and still sustain the industry?

    • Epic isn’t going to compete. Just because they have a lot of small children playing a game they give away for free, that doesn’t mean they have any chance of competing with Steam. Consumers aren’t going to care if developers are getting a bigger share. They’re going to stick with Steam because that’s where all of their games currently are, and if Epic tries to undercut them and actually cuts into their business, Steam will adjust to make sure they’re no longer able to.

      This isn’t as simple as “competition is good”.

  • 3872Orcs

    I’m quite happy where I am at SteamVR thanks. It’s where I have all my friends and my huge collection of games and its the hub of my main hobby, VR. I think I’m likely to stay there for the foreseeable future especially considering the rumors lately about Valve releasing a certain VR game and some new VR tech!

    • kuhpunkt

      This.

      • jj

        100%

    • David Herrington

      I’ll agree to the one place for all the games but competition drives down prices and is at least good for that.

      • NooYawker

        In most cases yes, but if they create exclusives then no. Like origin, that isn’t helping anyone but themselves and creating a headache for us. Plus Steam is responsible for pushing out more games at better prices. Many steam users will tell you they have dozens of games they haven’t played yet, but bought only because it was on sale.

        • daveinpublic

          If Steam encouraged exclusives, would you be open to trying Epic’s new online store?

        • CQCoder

          This.

        • Konchu

          I am with you 100% I dont want 20 store apps running to keep my games updated and patched and with most apps being in Steam I really don’t have to worry about it. I really wish MS would have realized their own 100% closed store would not really overtake the competition and build a plugin SDK in windows for company’s like Steam ,Origin,Uplay, GOG to use to deliver their games in an Amalgamation of a super collection spot built into windows that masses all the content together and manages updates etc via a simple interface. So you windows would be authorized to your various accounts and would receive update request pushed directly by the respective store servers. Maybe place a cool library management system amazing-ness ensues. All while having one place to find all your content.

      • Konchu

        I love steam in general. But I welcome the competition. The 30% cut has always felt pretty high for what we the players get and what they provide to game makers. And everyone is doing this access the board the Google/Apple all the console players, and platforms like steam and pretty sure Facebook are all to varying degrees guilty of this.

        I imagine even at 30% Steam was traditionally a bargain compared to Physical media where they have to share with the store and the manufacturing process/ delivery process etc.

        So more competitions is better here, and maybe if Steam gets a little pressure on them they will be motivated to finish Half life.

        • Game makers aren’t going to care about the higher share because they’ll only do 1% of the sales they’ll get on Steam. The kids who play Fortnite for free aren’t going to make indie developers any money, even if they are getting a much larger share on Epic’s store.

    • Embrace the change. It will encourage more diversity, open the market for more risk and experimentation, and generally be a good thing for the industry. Your friends will permeate through and you will still own your games.

      Anything to make it cheaper for developers to publish games is a good thing.

      • NooYawker

        Steam always offers some amazing sales, if prices need to be pushed lower and lower then developers will start to lose out. I’m all for competition but steam does a good job of keeping gamers happy. It’s not like they’re EA or something that constantly fuck their customers over.
        I’m not against EA opening a store but if they have exclusives and force me to use their service I’m just not going to buy those games.

        • The only way I see developers losing out in this scenario is if there are platform exclusivity arrangements – in that sense devs will lose exposure that might have been gained from the scale of another platform. Other than that, if you make it cheaper to publish, the studios could use that extra revenue to hire more developers or invest into certain aspects of the experience.

          I don’t really give a shit if my game costs a few bucks more or less if the experience is worth it.

        • daveinpublic

          The price will only be lower for you, not the developers. The only people seeing less money would be Epic, by not taking 30% of the cut. There has to be some sort of competition to get the people in charge to lower their stranglehold on indie devs, and this is it.

    • Andrew Jakobs

      you don’t have to move, you can use both……

      • Unless the prices are drastically lower on Epic’s store, do you really think everyone who already has a massive Steam library is going to bother starting a new library on another gaming client?

        • Andrew Jakobs

          Why not? I owna MASSIVE steam library and I also own a gog library, ubisoft library, Origin library. So why not also an Epic library..

  • Christopher John

    oh another freaking place to store our games… How exciting.

  • jj

    Epic and unreal engine sucks donkey dick from every angle…. ask any real developer and theyll tell you how dumb unreal engine is. And for vr… don’t even get me started. Theyre engine is so flawed i had to re-write most of it myself to achieve minuscule things you can do in Unity. But of course it comes jam packed with post processing effects to indie devs look good out of the box…. what a joke

  • And so, Valves cash cow can now feel the tremors of the new future. Major studios are now self-distributing, and smaller developers can now profit more from their creations.

    Maybe in 5 years we’ll see a whole new gaming landscape, where distribution platforms are widely segmented, and to stay relevant Valve actually starts developing games again.

    Maybe we’ll even see HL3.

  • Daban

    I hope they pull through and dethrone Steam. Who knows maybe Valve will finally go back to making games instead of sitting on their pile of money. Now the only problem is how everyone accepted Steam’s “Games as a subscription” (I AGREE) box. So ownership of all our games are fucked in the future.

    Also Epic is owned by Tencent. This is again a battle of the lesser of two evils.

    • Andrew Jakobs

      Epic isn’t completely owned by Tencent, they have a 40% stake..

    • CQCoder

      Lot of hate for Steam and wild assumptions about their profit margins. I’d love to see Valve back making games and it sounds like they are headed that way. Past that, what difference does it make where your install your old games from? I’m more concerned about requiring 5 launchers to play my ‘active’ games because they’ve all gone Exclusive.

  • Cat of Many Faces

    Steam is a giant jerk to game makers, so i hope this is a good replacement

  • mirak

    We should be able to migrate our bought games to whatever platform we want.

  • MosBen

    There’s a certain symmetry in Epic and Valve, which both released their first games, both first person shooters, a few months apart in 1998, drifting into non-game creation businesses that eventually become their main businesses, and both opening competing digital game stores.

    • CQCoder

      Epic isn’t really competing yet and they are quite a few years behind. I will be curious to see how it all falls out.

    • Downvote King

      Interesting parallels. Perhaps this is a logical course for disruptive success in game development? I can only imagine if Electronic Arts had decided to start licensing game engines early on, but then they can barely bring themselves to recycle an engine internally from one project to the next, let alone create a polished, user friendly product to license to other developers. A note though, that although Epic had their breakthrough success with the first Unreal in 1998, they had been developing and releasing games since 1991.

      Jazz Jackrabbit and One Must Fall 2097 in particular I remember as fairly mainstream games from 1994, but I played a number of their games from the pre-Unreal catalog at the time. They followed the shareware model of Id Software and Apogee, and generally released games that competed with their core properties. They even had a Wolfenstein competitor called Ken’s Labyrinth, made by Ken Silverman who went on to create the Build engine which saw a lot of licensed success in its own right.

      • MosBen

        You’re totally right! I completely forgot about those earlier titles.

        • Downvote King

          Cheers – it was a fun trip down memory lane!

  • Do *NOT* trust Epic with your credit card data. Unlike Steam, which has more security then Fort Knox, Epic is very sloppy with credit card info. I had $99 charged to my Unreal Engine 4 account, because some ***hole scammed it to get Fortnight credits. I did get my money back, after they found I had no Fortnight account, but it took 3 weeks. You are putting your credit card at risk with Epic.

  • realtrisk

    I REALLY hope they don’t pull all their games from Steam like the great Satan EA did… :(

    • Lucidfeuer

      What games?

  • mirak

    Better than that.
    When should able to migrate our bought games to any platform we want.
    Because steam is not just a store that sells, it also practically owns your game and it’s licence to use it.

    • brandon9271

      Yeah and i understand why people have a problem with that but I’ve been a Steam user for about 15 years and I’ve never had any issues. Zero. Offline or online I’ve always been able to play the games I own. Combine that with the sales, the cloud saves, never needing to keep track of discs or cd keys, Steam controller that automatically maps to nearly every game, Steam in home streaming to phones, TV boxes other PCs.. and one and one. Steam is a great service. There’s a really why they have a strangle hold on the PC market

  • CQCoder

    I’m torn on this. It seems like _everyone_ is trying to become a game hub. I want the competition to keep Valve on it’s toes, but man…ANOTHER launcher. We already have EA, UBI & GOG, Discord and whatever flavor popped up last week. Thankfully, there are few exclusives on them as even EA & UBI can’t afford to ignore Steam. I gather people are bitchy about the %…but seriously…WHERE else can you get access to millions of games. Comparing Steam to any other launcher and saying ‘Steam charges too much compares to x’. It’s hardly a fair comparison – there is no other launcher with the number of users Steam has. The value you get as a dev publishing on it is huge. Do you want 85% of $100 or 70% of $1000?

  • CQCoder

    On that note, I see everyone saying how good it is that the percentage offered from Epic is better and how this will create competition. Be wary of the law of unintended consequences. If you’re rooting for the small devs, I’m not so sure this is a good thing. What do you think is going to happen? Let’s say Epic manages to actually get enough devs going to make a foothold and this ‘war’ ensues. Do you think a drop in % is all that’s going to occur? Every game isn’t going to be an exclusive, so there are going to be a LOT of small devs forced to deploy to all platforms – and oops…how do you attract them to Epic (or wherever)….drop the price of the game at Epic. I don’t know what is going to happen but it’s a bold assumption to think that the devs are suddenly going to start making more money. No idea what’s going to happen. All I know is there are a LOT indy games on Steam at 30%. A lot of someones decided it was worth it.

  • DaKangaroo

    I prefer to have just one client to download, install and run my games with, instead of half a dozen from different companies. It means I don’t have to run half a dozen applications at the same time in the background all doing the same thing, downloading updates, signed into IM clients, etc.

    Steam has a lot going for it which I like too. Workshop, SteamVR, AMAZING Linux support (a big deal if you use Linux obviously), lots of technical options for the client, allows adult content on it’s store, and easy filtering on the store for hiding content you don’t want to see, very open for game devs to put games on, etc.

    Steam also does everything I need it to do through a very simple and functional UI that has remained pretty consistent over time and avoided being subjected to redesigns from UI fads every couple of years.

    Plus, obviously I don’t want to see Steam ‘dethroned’ if it means my personal game library is put at risk, I don’t want to see Steam go out of business.

    So…. pass!

  • Mateusz Pawluczuk

    Sweeney regularly posts VR related stuff on Twitter so I pretty much take it for granted their store will support VR content.

  • Steve

    This is great news for developers. I always thought the standard 30% share was overly greedy. Hopefully this will force other stores (such as Steam, Apple, Google, etc.) to reevaluate their cuts and lower them.

  • How do I get the Unity SDK?

  • Lucidfeuer

    I’m really torn. No thanks for yet another separate platform, app, drm and store. But then I hate Steam as much and the arrange pricing policy they’ve pushed forth with major publishers as driven prices to abusive highs.

  • Hahaha, good luck with that Epic. Just because you have 12 year olds playing Fortnite for free for the next year until it’s forgotten and the next big game comes along, that doesn’t mean you can take on the biggest online game retailer that ever was and will ever be.

  • I’m impressed by the fact that not only devs have 88% of shares, but they don’t even have to pay the UE4 revenue share…