In a blog post titled “Boosting developer success on Google Play,” Vice President of Product Management at Google, Sameer Samat, announced that they would be dropping their store’s service fee from 30% to 15% for the first $1 million of revenue.
“As a platform we do not succeed unless our partners succeed. Android and Google Play have always listened to our developer partners from around the world and we continue to take their input into account as we build and run the ecosystem,” Samat said in the company statement. “We look forward to seeing more businesses scale to new heights on Android, and to further discussions with our developer community to find new ways to support them technically and economically as they build their businesses.”
This is a massive development for independent video game developers. The 30% service fee Google required from developers is unfortunately an almost uniform industry trend. Apple, Steam, Nintendo, Sony and almost any other large game-hosting service requires a 30% cut of all revenue made on the site. Companies like Epic Games made waves when they opened the Epic Game Store, only charging a 12% service fee, meaning developers would see 18% more revenue on each purchase compared to if they hosted on Steam or GOG.com.
Samat explains that even though this cut is only valid for developers making less than $1 million, “we’ve heard from our partners making $2M, $5M and even $10M a year that their services are still on a path to self-sustaining orbit. This is why we are making this reduced fee on the first $1M of total revenue earned each year available to every Play developer, regardless of size. We believe this is a fair approach that aligns with Google’s broader mission to help all developers succeed. We look forward to sharing full details in the coming months.”
Google, like Epic, and websites like Itch.io which allows developers to choose their own paid-in service fee, are lowering the bar of entry for independent developers to make video game development their career.