After writing about Valve offering more money for successful games yesterday, Epic Games (Creators of Fortnite) is planning to launch their online store that will give 88% of revenue from game sales to developers. In comparison, Sony, Microsoft, and Valve offer 30% of revenue to developers.
Thanks to the massive success of Fortnite, Epic has the money to offer these to developers according to founder and CEO Tim Sweeney. According to Forbes magazine in July 2018, Fortnite has made over $1 billion in revenue.
Another amazing deal Epic is offering: Any games that uses Unreal Engine 4 will not have to pay royalty fees to Epic if it’s sold on their game marketplace. Unreal Engine is used many many triple A games, including Kingdom Hearts 3, Fortnite, Injustice 2, mobile games, and more. It’s considered the definitive game engine for many users. This could give potential new studios or indie developers a chance to save money for game releases if they are sold on Epic’s marketplace. Any game is allowed on Epic’s marketplace, it doesn’t have to use the Unreal Engine.
In addition, Epic is also planning to launch their “Support-A-Creator” program. It will help support content creators on YouTube or streamers connect with developers. Developers can share a percentage of their revenue with video producers who make content about their games. Epic will cover the first 5 percent.
When will it launch?
The Epic Games store will launch on PC and Mac in 2018 so it’s coming soon. It will launch on Android in 2019 and they are planning to launch for iOS in 2019. There are no plans for the console platforms. The store is planning to launch with a small selection of handpicked games. Developers are free to use their own digital right management.
This marketplace will dramatically change the PC gaming marketplace. The opportunity for publishers and developers is insane. I’m unsure on how it may shake the other marketplace but game developers will begin to look to Epic to sell their titles. It’s rare to see a company using their wealth to support companies, especially in the gaming industry which is highly competitive. I look forward to 2019 and how everything may change.
When you sell your game on Valve, the company takes 30 percent of your revenue for using it as a platform for distribution. It’s a common practice for business such as PlayStation and Xbox but Valve has been criticized lately for their user review system and lack of marketing support for new games. Steam is packed with thousands of games and nearly impossible to filter through them all. It’s difficult for developers to sell their game if they don’t understand Steam’s algorithms. They weren’t able to contact a Valve personal support and developers felt that the company didn’t “deserve” the 30 percent in revenue. To potentially earn developers’ trust again, Valve is offering them more money based on the success of their games.
Stated on November 30th, Valve stated
Starting from October 1, 2018 (i.e. revenues prior to that date are not included), when a game makes over $10 million on Steam, the revenue share for that application will adjust to 75%/25% on earnings beyond $10M. At $50 million, the revenue share will adjust to 80%/20% on earnings beyond $50M. Revenue includes game packages, DLC, in-game sales, and Community Marketplace game fees. Our hope is this change will reward the positive network effects generated by developers of big games, further aligning their interests with Steam and the community.
Valve is also allowing developers to speak about their game sale on Steam.
Who does this benefit?
A lot of big brand name titles such as Fallout or Call of Duty will see bigger profit margins. However, smaller companies and developers will still have difficulties presenting their games to a mass audience. There are too many games on Steam, especially because any game can be on their market.
The changes are to incentivize more companies to put their games on PC only through Steam. With more companies hosting their own platforms such as Blizzard’s BattleNet, Ubisoft’s Uplay, EA’s Origin, and Discord, Valve has more competition. While their competitors have less selection, it’s easier to search and find a game you enjoy.
The profit changes won’t hurt Valve too bad. It’s rare for a title to make that much on Steam alone unless you’re a huge publisher. The mass majority won’t even make $10 million but bigger companies may just place their games on Steam to save money.
As controversy continues regarding loot boxes in Video Games, Valve has taken the initiative to improve the process for their games. Dutch and Belgium have threatened to prosecute gaming companies regarding loot boxes in games. Their ruling stated
“Loot boxes contravene the law if the in-game goods from the loot boxes are transferable. Loot boxes do not contravene the law if the in-game goods from the loot boxes aWhre not transferable.”
Dutch declared four games were guilty and two games are from Valve. The government declared loot boxes had monetary value content but didn’t properly showcase what you earned as it is based on chance. Earlier in June, Valve disabled opening loot boxes and trading gear in the Netherlands, Belgium and Deutschland in CS:GO (Counter-Strike: Global Operative) and DOTA 2 (Defense of the Ancients 2).
Now Valve has taken another step for those regions. For DOTA 2, Dutch players can see what the loot box will contain before purchasing it. The game now restricts players by only allowing one box purchase at a time and removing the box opening animation.
Why these specific changes?
The removal of multiple purchases to prevent players from potentially mass purchasing boxes. Previously, multiple box purchases gave you small discounts or extra bonuses for more boxes. Regarding the animation, many loot boxes had fancy animations that were designed to make players feel good about opening them. Psychologist defines the feeling as ‘variable rate reinforcement.’ The adrenaline rush and the dopamines in your brain affect you more if you are unaware of the rewards but they are delivered on a periodic basis. Each game has their own animation and developers put extreme effort to make it look, sound, and feel amazing.
Do you want to see these changes in North America? Or do you think these changes aren’t the right steps to change loot boxes?
With the Steam sale finally ending, people can finally spend their summer playing their new games. Unless you’ve been using hacking tools, then you’re banned. In fact, Valve has banned over 40,000 people on July 6th. This is a record high ban since October 2016 where 15, 227 accounts were banned. Anybody who was caught by Valve Anti-Cheat was instantly banned although 5000 of them are based on normal ban reviews.
Many of the accounts were banned after purchasing cheaper copies of Counter-Strike: Global Offensive. All the accounts banned had an approximately $8,674 worth of cosmetic items for the game. Counter-Strike: Global Offensive is one of the few games made by Valve whose cosmetics can be sold by other players due to the rarity of certain designs. Some of them go for over $100 depending on the limited release of the item. The real lesson is to not hack to earn real money in video games. Especially not for cosmetics.
How much have you ever spent on a free game? Personally, I’ve probably spent over $200 on MapleStory in my middle school days.