Much like Bob Dylan sang, the times they are a changing. In particular, the way that consumers are able to purchase items online has shifted greatly in recent years, but things are about to alter drastically in the world of gaming. Valve's premiere digital games marketplace, Steam, is set to get some serious competition in 2019, with the likes of both Discord and Epic Games launching their own stores. The former, however, recently confirmed that developers have more to gain by self-publishing titles on its storefront when compared to any other service.
Taking to the official Discord website, the company announced that it will allow developers to self-publish through its upcoming Discord store with a 90/10 revenue split. This means that developers will be able to pocket 90% of all earnings generated from their published projects, which is a drastic increase from Steam's current 70/30 split – and a slight increase from the Epic Games Store's 88/12 revenue split.
According to the official release from Discord, the 10% retained by the company will go to hosting the service and keeping it sleek and operational for consumers. Not content on leaving things there though, Discord also confirmed that it would be actively looking for ways to give publishers even more return in the future as the new storefront looks for ways to refine and shrink the total cost of hosting their content.
It may not seem like a major changeup to what Epic Games is offering, but this move is another direct shot at the heart of Steam. Valve's online marketplace is significantly larger and the company has recently made alterations to its profit-sharing terms in order to compete with the forthcoming competition. Still, these revisions to the policy don't look after anyone but major publishers, as titles generating $10 million and $50 million will now secure a revenue split at 25 percent instead of 30. They're minor percentage changes by comparison. Every sale after $50 million means that Steam will only net 20 percent from a game’s overall earnings.
It makes the other platforms more appealing for any smaller developers hoping to generate even a little bit of revenue. The tradeoff is clearly that Steam has a larger install base of consumers, but the immense popularity of Fortnite on the Epic Games Store and the revenue potential of Discord's upcoming service are going to be hard for Valve to top moving forward.
At this point, the best move to keep gamers on Steam may be for Valve to get back into game development to generate exclusives and make its current lineup of software more accessible – the latter of which it has begun to do by making CS:GO free to play. These moves will be to help retain an audience on the platform, but regardless of who comes out on top in the next few years it's clear the developers and players will be the real winners.
Now, let's just hope that all of this competition will finally lead to Half-Life 3. All of these storefronts however, need to contend with the other large issue, that of being found on each store's respective front page.