There’s so much controversy in the PC gaming scene right now, it’s hard to keep track. A lot of that comes from the disruptive practices of the Epic Games Store, which we’ve reported on extensively. There’s a big debate to be had here, but an argument used by those in favor of the Epic Games Store, and one that CEO Tim Sweeney uses in its defense frequently, is the revenue cut. Digital stores have taken 30% of revenue for as long as they’ve been a thing. Epic Game Stores bucked that tend by only taking 12%. One publisher that’s definitely behind them is Paradox Interactive, who praised the store for that split.
On a panel hosted by GamesIndustry, executive chairman of the board at Paradox, Fredrik Wester, said the traditional 70/30 split for digital is “outrageous,” based on physical standards that shouldn’t apply to digital storefronts. He was clear in saying that he meant this towards all digital storefronts run by Apple, Microsoft, Sony, etc., and wasn’t just him weighing in on the ongoing Steam vs Epic Games Store debate.
“I think the 70/30 revenue split is outrageous,” he said. “I think the platform holders are taking too much money. Everyone in the press here, just quote me on that.”
In reference to treating digital and physical revenue cuts the same: “That was physical. It cost a lot of money,” he said. “This doesn’t cost anything. So Epic has done a great job for the whole industry, because you get 88%. Fantastic move. Thank you very much.”
It’s certainly a debate that’s worth having. That 12% to publishers is quite a big boon for them compared to the past, and could make a huge difference for smaller publishers. However, is that sustainable? Steam, as the clear PC storefront market leader, has added a huge amount of features in the nearly two decades it’s existed. Could that continued feature support have happened if they were taking in less than half of the revenue? It’s something to think about in the grand scheme of things, at the very least.