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Op Ed

Cliffski's Blog - Why epics strategy makes a lot of sense. To be clear, this is not Cliff Bleszinski.
"Before going any further I want to make some core assumptions. if you disagree with these stop reading now, because we have no common ground!

  • Game developers are generally trying to make good, fun games, and stay in business, nothing else.
  • Its good for gamers if the games marketplace is competitive, as this keeps the prices low, and the services high.

I don’t think either are controversial. if you are literally twelve years old, you may dispute 2), but…do some reading. Monopolies, whether they are near or absolute are a bad thing. Not because the people involved are bad, but just because competition keeps people hungry, keeps people innovative, keeps people working. There was theoretically competition in the marketplace to make cleaner-fuel cars for decades, until one company showed up to provide *real* competition, and then whoah, suddenly the customer has a vast array of cheaper-than-ever and better-than-ever electric cars! Disruptors entering a market make things better for ALL consumers, even if they still stick with the same supplier…

To put this another way, even if you love steam (I do!) and only buy your games from steam (95% steam, 5% origin here), and never, ever, ever will ever buy a game elsewhere…then competition (from epic etc) is STILL good for you, because it forces steam to stay competitive."

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65. Re: Op Ed Aug 8, 2019, 08:26 Creston
 
Bhruic wrote on Aug 7, 2019, 19:12:
It's also worth noting - and laughing at - the fact that although CLiffski puts forward some of the positives that Epic is doing, he completely ignores the negatives. It's like they don't even exist. You are either for Epic's store, or you support monopolies. That sort of black-and-white approach to the topic is a good indicator that the person has an agenda behind what they are saying.

Cliffski has a long history of blogs that basically state that we should all be so grateful that there are gaming devs, and we should worship the ground these people walk on and throw money at them just because of the fact they make games. He is 100% pro dev/publisher and 100% FUCK the customer.

 
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64. Re: Op Ed Aug 8, 2019, 08:23 Creston
 
jdreyer wrote on Aug 7, 2019, 17:08:
Many car companies are offering hybrids, PHEVs, or pure electrics, given that Tesla proved there was a market and is getting lots of press.

There were hybrids and electric cars before Tesla. As much as Elon Musk likes to crow that it was all because of him, Tesla really didn't invent this market.

Also, other than Tesla, no car manufacturer is making any kind of money on their electric and hybrid offerings. The ONLY reason they are offering these things to begin with is because it's the only way they can possibly meet CAFE standards across their entire fleet.
 
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63. Re: Op Ed Aug 8, 2019, 08:13 Slush54
 
The videogame market is not a market, it's customers are stupid uninformed mouthbreathers.

The last 20 years PC games have been stolen out from under gamers and held hostage inside corporate offices. Any server locked game = game you don't own or control.

The videogame market is a market for lemons because the gaming audience is stupid, computer illiterate and not very demanding. We went from level editors, free skins, maps and mods 20 years ago in the AAA space to lootboxes, having parts of AAA games carved out and held hostage by literally stealing them and calling it drm.

The videogame market is one giant abusive clusterfuck because it's customers are stupid.
 
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62. Re: Op Ed Aug 8, 2019, 07:05 Verno
 

This whole screed is based on a single obvious fallacy: rather than 'fight' monopoly, Epic's exclusives create a even more evil monopoly.

"There is no competition for this title, you buy it from us or get lost."

I believe their rationale is "its ok because its just for a year". What if EGS doesn't get the traction they need in a year though? Like what is the end game here? EGS gets X consumers? Drives its major competitors out of business? When will this behavior actually end?

But that's fine I guess because "competition" in any form somehow means anything goes apparently. So I guess if Valve or some other company responds by doing it then those same people will have nothing to say about it.
 
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61. Re: Op Ed Aug 8, 2019, 07:00 Verno
 
What's good for consumers is competition. Epic as a valid Steam competitor is good, even if it comes with the hard pill of timed exclusives. Loot boxes, on the other hand, are pure greed.

Products not being offered on as many storefronts as possible (worse in this case, a single one) is not competition and is not good for consumers. The hard pill is just as bad as the loot boxes to me. It's a shitty practice that people should not encourage. I don't care if its good for developers, its inherently anti-consumer.

When Epic did their sale last month and took a subsidized hit on many products, that was competition and was good for consumers. That's the kind of behavior we should encourage.

Epic forced Valve to make this change, for example:

Valve’s new Steam revenue agreement gives more money to game developers

That's fine for certain game developers but does not affect me as a consumer as was pointed out last time this was brought up. I was specifically referring to the quality of the client when I made that comment.
 
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60. Re: Op Ed Aug 8, 2019, 06:54 MeanJim
 
Slick wrote on Aug 8, 2019, 02:33:
3) The sky is not falling. There is no evidence that Valve is the only company (I guess that will ever exist?) that will keep serving you the games you've bought. You could make that same strawman argument for anything, I'll do it now! "I've never gotten an under-cooked burger at McDonalds, why would I trust buying a burger from anywhere else? They might be under-cooked!" See? Doesn't hold water. In short, yeah, it's basically just double-clicking a different icon on your desktop, which in my direct comparison is less onerous than plonking down $500 on a different console to play the game you want.

That's a bad analogy and you know it. A burger is a one time use commodity. A game is something you buy and is yours "forever." A better analogy would be, would rather buy/rent a safe deposit box to store valuables in from a bank that has been operating for less than a year or one that has a been in business for 15 years?

I bought Half-Life 2 at release, but I was hesitant to trust Steam for years. My first non Valve purchase on Steam wasn't until the summer sale of 2008.

Slick wrote on Aug 8, 2019, 02:33:
4) EGS is new? Not really, it's been around for a while now, it just got big with Fortnite. Epic have been around since the dawn of PC gaming. 1991 to be exact. Valve came into existence 5 years later in 1996. So to frame the Epic game store as a bunch of unshaven college upstarts who don't know what they're doing is FUD.

Epic Games has been around for a long time, but the Epic Game Store is less than a year old. They are very immature (both in terms of age, experience and attitude toward customers), and with Fortnite already losing popularity, are they going to be stable enough to stay in business when that Fortnite money is no longer supporting them?

Slick wrote on Aug 8, 2019, 02:33:
5) I think you missed my (I thought) clear call for consistency in our outrage. What do I think people are complaining about? They're complaining about EGS. Not Sony, MS, or Nintendo. That's the point.

They're complaining about EGS because they're trying to bring the Sony, MS, Nintendo console exclusivity bullshit into the PC market.

Slick wrote on Aug 8, 2019, 02:33:
6) If Steam does a billion transactions a year, and their costs are 2 cents per, that's 20 Million dollars a year. What do you think their operating costs are? 20 million is a lot of scratch to run servers that do all the work. But fine, make it 20 cents per transaction, that's $200 million dollars per year. Is that enough to run and maintain a piece of software that does all the work for you?

As I said, until you or someone can produce Valve's operating costs, quit pretending you know. I don't know how much it costs, but with over 130 content servers across the globe, it can't be cheap. Each of those have upfront equipment costs, plus upkeep, maintenance, monitoring, electricity, bandwidth, rent, and employees to pay.

Slick wrote on Aug 8, 2019, 02:33:
7) Can Valve afford to operate on less than 20% cut? The answer is yes. You know how I know? Cause math.

Math with made up numbers? Like I said, Valve's only income is Steam itself. Epic still has Fortnite and UE royalties, so Epic can afford to take a lower cut, especially since they also have a fraction of the operating costs to cover.

Rather than make shit up, I actually did some effort to get an estimate of some of Valve's operating costs just now. Valve's Download Status page shows a peak rate of 5.8 Tbps in the past 48 hours. It looks like they average about 4 Tbps. I looked up prices for commercial CDNs and find prices from 4 cents to 80 cents per GB. Going with the lowest rate of 4 cents per GB means Valve would be spending an average of $20 per second to run their data centers. That's $1.728 Million per day, or $630 Million per year just to run their data centers. If you think Valve can operate at 2 cents per transaction, I think they'll tell you to stick that where you pulled your numbers from.

Feel free to check my math, I should have been in bed hours ago, but, well, you know (4 Tbps = 500 GB per second at $0.04 per GB = $20 per second * 86,400 seconds per day = $1.728 * 365 days per year = $630,720,000).
 
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59. Re: Op Ed Aug 8, 2019, 06:39 Jonjonz
 
This whole screed is based on a single obvious fallacy: rather than 'fight' monopoly, Epic's exclusives create a even more evil monopoly.

"There is no competition for this title, you buy it from us or get lost."
 
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58. Re: Op Ed Aug 8, 2019, 06:00 Kxmode
 
Slick wrote on Aug 8, 2019, 01:14:
Please god, can someone give me one good argument in favour of the 30%? I'm so tired of saying the same shit over and over and over. Just put me out of my misery, give me the coup de grace and show me why I'm wrong. That or we can consider this settled and move to other more interesting topics.

and

Slick wrote on Aug 7, 2019, 20:43:
And for anyone who still doesn't understand what 30% of gross means:

A game costs $10

Valve's 30% gets them $3

Their costs are about $0.02

Total net profit for Valve $2.98

Publisher's 70% gets them $7

Their costs are to: pay the programmers, pay the level designers, pay the concept artists, pay the texture artists, pay the modelers, pay the sound designers, pay marketing, pay for servers, pay for QA, pay for customer service, pay for the office space, pay for engine licencing, pay music royalties, etc. etc. etc So how much do you think is left? If they're lucky they have $3 profit at the end.

Why should Valve get the same cut for essentially just hosting a server with zero human input required, as all the people collectively who actually work to make the games that we love?

Because Valve has an army of people working on Steam and their work doesn't come cheap.

Steam is equal parts platform, community hub, live streaming, sales, and marketing tool; rolled up into a single package. A publisher pays Valve a 30% premium to get access to everything Steam provides beyond the development of their game. Of all the platforms on the market, Steam is the most feature-rich and complete. Do you suppose that kind of tool and service should be dirt cheap?
 
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57. Re: Op Ed Aug 8, 2019, 05:40 Slick
 
jdreyer wrote on Aug 8, 2019, 03:39:
Verno wrote on Aug 7, 2019, 19:53:
Exactly thank you, finally some sanity. What is good for Epic as a company is not necessarily good for me as a consumer. People seem to just throw around the word "competition" as if it was magical and explains everything. You know another thing that's good for the industry? Loot boxes. Yep, they make a lot of money. Don't see many of you championing that practice. Similarly its hard to get consumers excited about "big company gobbles up exclusive distro rights" as if that is somehow going to trickle down to the consumer in any way.

What's good for consumers is competition. Epic as a valid Steam competitor is good, even if it comes with the hard pill of timed exclusives. Loot boxes, on the other hand, are pure greed.

The idea that Epic is just keeping Steam on its toes is amusing, Steam as a client is feature rich and is ironically the one thing that Valve has been consistently developing.

Epic forced Valve to make this change, for example:

Valve’s new Steam revenue agreement gives more money to game developers

Pretty funny, so now the great and powerful GabeN has seen fit to bestow the lowly peasants (who make the products he profits from) with a generous 30% skim only for the first $10,000,000 in sales (which Valve makes $3,000,000 from), then until $50,000,000 in sales they only charge 25% (which valve makes an additional $10,000,000 from), and after that it's only 20%!

Wow! Big brother valve sure is looking out for the little guy. All praise lord GabeN! So to get to the enviable position of 20% (still almost double the middleman tax as EGS), you just have to have to hand over $13,000,000 to an online store. What a deal! I'm sure the server costs and payment processing cost about $12,000,000 to be fair, right guys? That sounds about right. $12,000,000 for bandwidth that's as cheap as oxygen and some payment processing? yeah, sounds about right.
 
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56. Re: Op Ed Aug 8, 2019, 05:21 Slick
 
jdreyer wrote on Aug 8, 2019, 04:20:
Slick wrote on Aug 8, 2019, 01:14:
Please god, can someone give me one good argument in favour of the 30%? I'm so tired of saying the same shit over and over and over. Just put me out of my misery, give me the coup de grace and show me why I'm wrong. That or we can consider this settled and move to other more interesting topics.

A good argument for 30%? It's cheaper than the 50% charged by traditional brick and mortar outlets.

Yeah you're right, back in 2004. Steam was conceived to pay 0% for distribution, because they realized in the internet age, they can do that themselves, that they should have the right to sell their own product. The deals they had with Vivendi (their publisher) would still be honoured (publishers usually front development costs, marketing, support, networking etc.), but the part of the deal they wanted to override was that only Vivendi could sell their games, and take a giant cut. That was the rub. And it took a lengthy 4 year legal battle for them to overcome that raw 50% + exclusivity deal. That precedent allowed other companies to do the same, but no one did for 99% of 3rd party games, they weren't going to build out their own digital distribution platform, that was a lot of work to get off the ground, so they all went to Steam.

The 30% number only came about when Steam started selling 3rd party games (secret bonus question, can you name the first 3rd party game to be sold on Steam?) It was Valve's desire to sell their OWN games that got this ball rolling in the first place. It was more akin to EA wanting to sell their own wares on Origin, or Ubisoft on uPlay. Steam has grown into a much different beast since then. That 30% was very attractive to other studios who were used to 50%, so they cleaned up. Until people realized that 30% is still super high, especially considering Valve didn't have to print hundreds of millions of optical media discs, produce packaging, and deal with worldwide physical distribution anymore. Don't worry, in 5 years we'll realize that 12% is pretty damn high for a payment processor and some bandwidth.
 
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55. Re: Op Ed Aug 8, 2019, 05:06 Slick
 
jdreyer wrote on Aug 8, 2019, 04:26:
Slick wrote on Aug 8, 2019, 02:33:
4) EGS is new? Not really, it's been around for a while now, it just got big with Fortnite. Epic have been around since the dawn of PC gaming. 1991 to be exact. Valve came into existence 5 years later in 1996. So to frame the Epic game store as a bunch of unshaven college upstarts who don't know what they're doing is FUD.


The question isn't "Will Epic be around?"

The question is "Will EGS be around?"

Google has been around nearly as long as Epic, and they have a long list of services they've killed over the years. If EGS becomes a financial burden to maintain for Epic, it's sayonara baby: "Sorry gamers, nothing personal, just business."

If Epic did that with EGS, then it would be sayonara for Epic as a company too. Technically it would be more seppuku, but you get the idea.

Take Steam for instance, people had the same fear when they launched. "What? I don't' get the CD-motherfucking-ROM for my game? What happens when Valve decides to shut down Steam!? What happens to all my games!?!?" We've been here before, this is old hat, the sky hasn't fallen.

These storefronts are *cough* HIGHLY profitable, it's a hard thing to fuck up. This isn't Trump running 3 casinos into the ground, where the patrons at least have a chance of winning their money back. These digital distribution platforms are money-printing machines. They take pennies worth of electrons and photons, and through mystic digital greed-fueled alchemy turn it into gold bars stacked to the vault ceiling.

Why doesn't anyone have the same concerns for Steam? Why don't I hear the same wailing cries of anguish and gnashing of teeth over the thought that Steam might one day shutter it's virtual doors? What will happen to all your games then? If they continue this archaic scheme to skim 30% from developers, then I'd be more worried about my Steam collection getting zeroed out than future competing platforms that treat their clients with a modicum of respect. What happens with their monopoly fails? What do they have? A cool store? integrated forums? An embedded web browser? As I've established in this thread, there is a LOT of headroom in the digital distribution model, others will undercut and will gain market share. You think 12% is low? HA! They'll still make billions. Once someone comes around that is content only making hundreds of millions, that percentage will get a lot smaller.

That 30% should be 5% tops, and that reclaimed 25% should be split in a fair ratio between the people who made the game, and the people who play the game. That's win for the customers, win for the creatives, and a lose for the middlemen. Fuck yeah.
 
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54. Re: Op Ed Aug 8, 2019, 04:45 Slick
 
@PropheT

If I was making your argument I'd go for something like Amazon, as they provide a service that's actually superior to brick-and-mortar retail. Shopping there is lining the pockets of the richest person on the planet, but the service is actually superior. I can buy anything I want in my underpants, and then it's delivered to my door and I receive it still in said underpants.

Any online store on my computer gives me fundamentally the exact same experience. I download an app, make an account, input payment info, buy the game, download the game, play the game. I don't buy the convenience argument of having all your records in the same crate. The crate is your PC. They're already all in the same crate. Feeding a virtual monopoly with shitty practices is not convenience, that's OCD. That's arranging the vegetables on your plate so the peas and carrots don't touch each other.

You're just double-clicking an icon on the desktop. If one icon launches a game bought on Steam, another a game on Origin, another on uPlay, another on EGS... try this next time: double-click then close your eyes and wait 15 seconds, then open them and try to see if there's a difference.

It's kind of crazy how OCD people can be, wanting to hand over the same amount of $$$ to Valve as all the talented people combined who make the games end up getting after their costs. It's ludicrous, it's absurd. Next time you go see a movie (most movies are digital nowadays), just imagine all the 15,000+ people who worked on that film, then imagine the theatre, their staff, the projector costs, the sound system, all of that. Then imagine the company that processed your ticket payment online, the website payment portal, say they're also the ones that are also in charge of digitally sending the deliverable final cut of the film from the studio to the theatre's projector hard drive. Now imagine that entity takes 30% of your ticket price. Does that seem at all reasonable? that 30% supports exactly 1 person, Gabe Newell. The other 70% supports thousands and thousands of people who actually make the art that has enhanced your life throughout the years.
 
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53. Re: Op Ed Aug 8, 2019, 04:26 jdreyer
 
Slick wrote on Aug 8, 2019, 02:33:
4) EGS is new? Not really, it's been around for a while now, it just got big with Fortnite. Epic have been around since the dawn of PC gaming. 1991 to be exact. Valve came into existence 5 years later in 1996. So to frame the Epic game store as a bunch of unshaven college upstarts who don't know what they're doing is FUD.


The question isn't "Will Epic be around?"

The question is "Will EGS be around?"

Google has been around nearly as long as Epic, and they have a long list of services they've killed over the years. If EGS becomes a financial burden to maintain for Epic, it's sayonara baby: "Sorry gamers, nothing personal, just business."
 
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52. Re: Op Ed Aug 8, 2019, 04:20 jdreyer
 
Slick wrote on Aug 8, 2019, 01:14:
Please god, can someone give me one good argument in favour of the 30%? I'm so tired of saying the same shit over and over and over. Just put me out of my misery, give me the coup de grace and show me why I'm wrong. That or we can consider this settled and move to other more interesting topics.

A good argument for 30%? It's cheaper than the 50% charged by traditional brick and mortar outlets.
 
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The land in Minecraft is flat, Minecraft simulates the Earth, ergo the Earth is flat.
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51. Re: Op Ed Aug 8, 2019, 04:16 jdreyer
 
Primalchrome wrote on Aug 7, 2019, 21:05:
jdreyer wrote on Aug 7, 2019, 17:13:
However, for third party titles, Steam is by far the dominant force.
Totally agree. It is a powerhouse. Monopoly...not so.
Show me a third party PC game that launched on platforms other than Steam that was successful.
Rimworld? Fantasy Grounds? Dwarf Fortress? Tabletop Simulator? Warframe? Path of Exile? The Witcher 3? World of Tanks? League of Legends? Mechwarrior Online? ...those are just the ones I see referenced on my desktop at a quick skim. (I'm assuming they qualify with your stated criteria)

Steam is a defacto monopoly for third party games. They are so dominant that they set the terms of the industry. No game is allowed on Steam that has a different MSRP on another platform. How does Steam get away with that? Because they're a monopolistic force in this market.

Let's go through those games you listed.
Rimworld - On Steam
Fantasy Grounds - On Steam
Dwarf Fortress - Coming to Steam. Tarn and Zach could hardly be called successful scraping by on a few thousand dollars a month for the last decade or so. They're moving to Steam because it "will then allow Tarn Adams and his brother Zach Adams, who do business as Bay 12 Games, the financial freedom they need to continue making Dwarf Fortress for as long as they’re physically able." A recent health scare made the Adams boys realize they couldn't afford to fund an emergency or retirement from Patreon donations.
Warframe - On Steam
Path of Exile - On Steam
Witcher 3 - On Steam. Apparently sales were low when it was GoG only.
World of Tanks - On Steam.
League of Legends - First party game owned by mega-publisher TenCent. Same category as EA and Ubi games.
Mechwarrior Online - On Steam.

My criteria was to show a successful third party game that was *not* on Steam. A lot of the games you mentioned started off Steam, but you'll notice they couldn't sustain that.

Your best example is Wargaming (WoT, WoW, etc.) They were successful for years before moving to Steam, but even they succumbed.
 
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The land in Minecraft is flat, Minecraft simulates the Earth, ergo the Earth is flat.
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50. Re: Op Ed Aug 8, 2019, 03:54 PropheT
 
Slick wrote on Aug 8, 2019, 01:14:
Please god, can someone give me one good argument in favour of the 30%? I'm so tired of saying the same shit over and over and over. Just put me out of my misery, give me the coup de grace and show me why I'm wrong. That or we can consider this settled and move to other more interesting topics.


EA made Origin, and Ubisoft made Uplay, with subpar services at release and the idea of better serving themselves (their developers, and them as a publisher). Epic comes along and does the same exact thing and they're hit with the same exact backlash for the same exact reasons and acts like they don't get why. Insert surprised pikachu face here.


Bottom line is: Offering a better service to the people selling the stuff is fine, more money going to the developers is totally fine, but those are reasons for people to sell through you, not reasons for people to buy from you.

Do you listen to music on Spotify, or something like it? Most people do these days. Does the paltry amount of royalties they pay a band affect your decision on where to get your music, or is the quality of the service you get it from more important? Do you even know how much they get without looking it up? 99.9% of people don't know, and most wouldn't care even if they did, and the same goes for games. They just want it on the service that works best for them, and they want it where they have all their other music.

And that's why Epic is doing what they're doing; it's easier to get people on their service by buying away their customer's choices than it is to win them over by offering a better service. Nobody is talking about Spotify royalties, and nobody is talking about the 30%, because nobody but the sellers really cares. Consumers are won over with consumer oriented things.

And I've never even seen a fucking Tesla before, but there's hybrids everywhere. Nobody's tossing up a choice between a Prius and a Tesla, and nobody's planning charging stations along the highways here for the Teslas that nobody is driving.
 
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49. Re: Op Ed Aug 8, 2019, 03:39 jdreyer
 
Verno wrote on Aug 7, 2019, 19:53:
Exactly thank you, finally some sanity. What is good for Epic as a company is not necessarily good for me as a consumer. People seem to just throw around the word "competition" as if it was magical and explains everything. You know another thing that's good for the industry? Loot boxes. Yep, they make a lot of money. Don't see many of you championing that practice. Similarly its hard to get consumers excited about "big company gobbles up exclusive distro rights" as if that is somehow going to trickle down to the consumer in any way.

What's good for consumers is competition. Epic as a valid Steam competitor is good, even if it comes with the hard pill of timed exclusives. Loot boxes, on the other hand, are pure greed.

The idea that Epic is just keeping Steam on its toes is amusing, Steam as a client is feature rich and is ironically the one thing that Valve has been consistently developing.

Epic forced Valve to make this change, for example:

Valve’s new Steam revenue agreement gives more money to game developers
 
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The land in Minecraft is flat, Minecraft simulates the Earth, ergo the Earth is flat.
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48. Re: Op Ed Aug 8, 2019, 02:42 Slick
 
FloorPie wrote on Aug 8, 2019, 01:50:
Wow, you actually got it right. The average take on credit card processing fees is 3%. See gasoline prices at cash/debit vs credit places for confirmation. The 76's or Chevron stations near the Arco's that only do cash/debit tend to be only about 3% higher on price per gallon. The chevron stations farther away go up more in price. Lack of competition in the immediate area I suppose.

So now valve is making only 27% of a sale. Minus operating costs which apparently you think don't exist. I'm sure dealing with charge backs/refunds doesn't cost money either or effect banking/credit costs. Oh, and lets not forget any currency exchange fees. My credit card company is back to charging me a fee for doing business with the Polish GoG even if I use paypal as the processor/middleman. DRM free now costs me on average an extra $1.50. It often now makes more sense to buy GoG wallet money for multiple transactions.

"Generally, Mastercard, Visa and Discover charge an average of .13 percent, but the percentage changes by the company with regularity."

0.13% on average. And again, with scale it tips towards the lower end of that figure for a giant company like Valve.

Throw on top a generous 0.1% for bandwidth and hosting, and what the hell, an obscenely large 0.01% for their "operational costs", which I guess consists of some employees making sure their servers don't go down, and keeping the store app up-to-date.

So our grand total is 0.24%! They could aim for a 90% profit margin by charging 1000% what their costs are, and it would be only 2.4%, they'd still be raking in money hand-over-fist, AND still have money to piss away on other non-Steam projects.

If you're concerned about "operational costs" you should probably think of the level designers, sound designers, programmers, visual effects artists, concept artists, writers, producers, directors, voice actors, composers, 3D modelers, musicians, lighting artists, texture artists, network techs, under-appreciated QA staff, server techs, and everyone else it takes to actually make the games you love.

The only operational cost beyond app maintenance, bandwidth, and payment processing Valve has to bear is paying the janitor to kick the money-printing server box to restart it when it stops printing money for a microsecond.
 
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47. Re: Op Ed Aug 8, 2019, 02:33 Slick
 
Well thank you MeanJim for actually reading what I wrote and not just calling me a hater/fanboi etc.

There's a lot that doesn't add up about your arguments, but I don't really have the wherewithal to go point by point right now. Ugh, that sounds like a cop out, okay here we go!

1) There are oodles of good games that never come to PC, but whatever platform you wanna play on is all you.

2) You're mischaracterizing what I've written if you think that I'm: "Okay with Epic doing this, but not okay with MS and Sony doing it."

3) The sky is not falling. There is no evidence that Valve is the only company (I guess that will ever exist?) that will keep serving you the games you've bought. You could make that same strawman argument for anything, I'll do it now! "I've never gotten an under-cooked burger at McDonalds, why would I trust buying a burger from anywhere else? They might be under-cooked!" See? Doesn't hold water. In short, yeah, it's basically just double-clicking a different icon on your desktop, which in my direct comparison is less onerous than plonking down $500 on a different console to play the game you want.

4) EGS is new? Not really, it's been around for a while now, it just got big with Fortnite. Epic have been around since the dawn of PC gaming. 1991 to be exact. Valve came into existence 5 years later in 1996. So to frame the Epic game store as a bunch of unshaven college upstarts who don't know what they're doing is FUD.

5) I think you missed my (I thought) clear call for consistency in our outrage. What do I think people are complaining about? They're complaining about EGS. Not Sony, MS, or Nintendo. That's the point.

6) If Steam does a billion transactions a year, and their costs are 2 cents per, that's 20 Million dollars a year. What do you think their operating costs are? 20 million is a lot of scratch to run servers that do all the work. But fine, make it 20 cents per transaction, that's $200 million dollars per year. Is that enough to run and maintain a piece of software that does all the work for you?

7) Can Valve afford to operate on less than 20% cut? The answer is yes. You know how I know? Cause math.

This comment was edited on Aug 8, 2019, 02:45.
 
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46. Re: Op Ed Aug 8, 2019, 01:50 FloorPie
 
Slick wrote on Aug 8, 2019, 01:12:
Slashman wrote on Aug 8, 2019, 00:33:
Slick wrote on Aug 7, 2019, 22:26:

The payment processor is more expensive, and I honestly don't know how much it costs, but considering they do probably a billion transactions a year on Steam, I can't see the processors charging much. They'd be climbing over each other to land that contract, another purely rent-seeking business. Just run payments through a server, kick your feet back, and make a hundred million pure profit in a year from a single client if they charge 10 cents per transaction.

So you're just talking out of your ass then. Because it feels good to make Steam the big bad guy.

Yes, I don't have exact figures for their payment processing, I doubt anyone outside of a select few at Valve know that number. But running an online business myself, I do have some experience with this. Payment processing is a large part of running an online store, but it's usually 30-50 cents for us small fries. With scale things get cheaper.

Wow, you actually got it right. The average take on credit card processing fees is 3%. See gasoline prices at cash/debit vs credit places for confirmation. The 76's or Chevron stations near the Arco's that only do cash/debit tend to be only about 3% higher on price per gallon. The chevron stations farther away go up more in price. Lack of competition in the immediate area I suppose.

So now valve is making only 27% of a sale. Minus operating costs which apparently you think don't exist. I'm sure dealing with charge backs/refunds doesn't cost money either or effect banking/credit costs. Oh, and lets not forget any currency exchange fees. My credit card company is back to charging me a fee for doing business with the Polish GoG even if I use paypal as the processor/middleman. DRM free now costs me on average an extra $1.50. It often now makes more sense to buy GoG wallet money for multiple transactions.
 
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