2018 ended with a bang. Epic Games, a company most people probably hadn’t heard of before Fortnite hit it big, decided to kick off another money making venture. It revealed it will be launching the Epic Games Store. This will be a digital storefront where people will be able to go and (hopefully) grab PC games of all kinds. Which sounds good and all, maybe even rather ordinary, but there are a lot of reasons why it could end up being both extraordinary and maybe even epic.
The first is just the idea that the Epic Games Store will even exist. Steam is the best known online distributor. Some other retailers, like GOG and Humble, have carved out some space for itself, but nothing comes close to that giant. Epic has the money to make the Epic Games Store succeed, the industry know-how to know what people might want, and developed enough of a presence that people wouldn’t forget it exists. Not to mention the whole “Epic Games Store” name is rather catchy.
It also seems like the Epic Games Store could have a chance to really connect with developers. Making sure you have enough games at a retailer is important. The company confirmed it will have an 88/12 revenue split with companies. This means the developers and publishers would get 88% of the money from the sale of a game through this retailer, while Epic’s cut would only be 12%. To compare, stores like Steam have a 70/30 split. Epic says it will make a profit even with this split, and you have to imagine developers and publishers would want to flock to a storefront that will let them keep more of the money games make.
It also seems like there could be opportunities to make more ordinary people happy with the Epic Games Store. In an interview with Game Informer, Epic Founder Tim Sweeney said this retailer will not have store-wide DRM. While there are some Steam games that do not require you to use the launcher to play them, most of them do. Which basically means DRM. Sweeney said developers can use DRM if they want, but the Epic Games Store will not have store-wide DRM. You just use the site’s launcher to download and update games.
There will also be a Support-A-Creator program, to help people who stream or create video game-related content. Content creators will be able to send viewers or readers to Epic Games Store. If they do and someone makes a purchase, they can get a cut of the profits. Companies can set the revenue sharing rate and provide these people free access. Sweeney also noted that for the first two years after a game’s release and participation in the Support-A-Creator program, Epic will pay the first 5% cut. It seems like a great way to get “influencers” on board, which would act as free advertising for Epic Games Store.
In short, Epic is in a good place right now. Its Epic Games Store is poised to perhaps become a major competitor. That there will be a better profit margin for the people making games and easier ways for people who make game-related content to get money or access is a pretty big win. No launcher DRM is good for buyers, as is knowing there is another retailer to force Steam to be more competitive. It could be good for everyone.