Tim Sweeney on EGS' Impact

A lengthy series of tweets from Tim Sweeney looks to address some of the concerns gamers have expressed over Epic Games Store exclusives and other issues:
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.

For example, after years of great work by independent stores (excluding big publishers like EA-Activision-Ubi), none seem to have reached 5% of Steam’s scale. Nearly all have more features than Epic; and the ability to discount games is limited by various external pressures.

This leads to the strategy of exclusives which, 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.

In judging whether a disruptive move like this is reasonable in gaming, I suggest considering two questions: Is the solution proportionate to the problem it addresses, and are gamers likely benefit from the end goal if it’s ultimately achieved?

The 30% store tax usually exceeds the entire profits of the developer who built the game that’s sold. This is a disastrous situation for developers and publishers alike, so I believe the strategy of exclusives is proportionate to the problem.

If the Epic strategy either succeeds in building a second major storefront for PC games with an 88/12 revenue split, or even just leads other stores to significantly improve their terms, the result will be a major wave of reinvestment in game development and a lowering of costs.

Will the resulting 18% increase in developer and publisher revenue benefit gamers? 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.

Of course, there are LOTS of challenges along the way, and Epic is fully committed to solving all problems that arise for gamers are for our partners as the Epic Games store grows.
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Re: Tim Sweeney on EGS' Impact
Jun 26, 2019, 16:28
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Re: Tim Sweeney on EGS' Impact Jun 26, 2019, 16:28
Jun 26, 2019, 16:28
 
Dravnt wrote on Jun 26, 2019, 14:13:
Beamer,

I think you do have a good point but the problem is the powerful greed driving decisions by individual companies.

For example, windfall and increased resources have not changed the buggy mess the SaaS games produced for the last 2+ years from EA. Individual users are now the test monkeys for games, which is why so many of them are either buggy messes on release or games stay in "alpha/greenlight" mode for years.

I think the best example of how to do it right is CD Projekt Red (Witcher series, Cyberpunk 2077) and Rockstar (GTA series, Red Dead Redemption, etc.). I really don't like how Rockstar games are SaaS and how they have a secondary login for cloud saves/purchases but DLC is free and there's no question about quality. And CD Projekt Red is doing amazing work with not only their games but also their supported store front GoG.

Another company doing it right is HumbleBundle, who let's you choose how much percentage goes to the publisher, storefront and developers.

Upshot is we, the gamers, get what we pay for and if we pay a company that encourages pure exclusives while blowing smoke up our asses claiming "it's all for the gamers!", then we only have ourselves to blame for the current state of the industry.

And 30% is very much industry standard among all players (Microsoft Xbox, Android apps, iOS apps, PlayStation, Steam, etc.). It was actually Microsoft that originally set that percentage more than a decade ago and every company followed suit. While it would be nice to dream of a lower percentage charged and with more cash going to developers, it is most likely going to take more than Epic/Sweeney's tiff with Steam/Gabe to change the industry standard.

To be clear, I'm with you, I want change, I want developers to have more cash in their pockets to create games but I also want games to drop back down to $45 for a triple A game, for games to not be exclusive on storefronts, and for DLC to be proper paid expansions. I'd also like for companies to allow modding on their games.

All of this is out the window though as long as big gaming corp is driven by greed and as long as gamers are okay with SaaS software/games.

We are in a worse and worse state of affairs as time goes on because we allow it.

Today a AAA game is $60. In 1999, it was $50. However, $50 in 1999 is the same as $75 today. So AAA games are in fact cheaper than they were 20 years ago, and get relatively cheaper every year.
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