This question gets to the core of Epic’s strategy for competing with dominant storefronts. We believe exclusives are the only strategy that will change the 70/30 status quo at a large enough scale to permanently affect the whole game industry.
— Tim Sweeney (@TimSweeneyEpic) June 25, 2019
He went on to explain that exclusives “though unpopular with dedicated Steam gamers, do work, as established by the major publisher storefronts and by the key Epic Games store releases compared to their former Steam revenue projections and their actual console sales.”
At current, the dominant PC storefront is Valve’s Steam, which currently takes a 30% cut from the retail price of a game for itself. Epic takes less than half of this, with a 12% cut that leaves the game’s publisher and/or developer with an 88% share of the income. Sweeney has repeatedly stated that he believes that Valve’s 30% cut is bad for the gaming industry at large.
“Will the resulting 18% increase in developer and publisher revenue benefit gamers?” he said in a follow-up tweet. “Such gains are generally split among (1) reinvestment, (2) profit, and (3) price reduction. The more games are competing with each other, the more likely the proceeds are to go to (1) and (3).”
“So I believe this approach passes the test of ultimately benefitting gamers after game storefronts have rebalanced and developers have reinvested more of their fruits of their labor into creation rather than taxation,” he added.
Sweeney often addresses complaints about Epic’s exclusivity policy on Twitter. In April, he said that Epic would end exclusivity deals if Steam committed to an 88% revenue share for developers. Until then, the company intends to secure exclusives such as Metro Exodus, Borderlands 3, and Quantic Dream’s previously PlayStation exclusive library.
Matt Purslow is IGN’s UK News and Entertainment Writer. You can follow him on Twitter.