The corporate blocks are crumbling and who do we have to thank? Well, a corporation. Microsoft announced in a blog post Thursday that starting August 1, sales on the Microsoft digital store for PC users will no longer take a 30% cut from developers. Microsoft will be matching industry leader Epic Games by taking a 12% cut of every sale.
“As part of our commitment to empower every PC game creator to achieve more, starting on August 1, the developer share of Microsoft Store PC games sales net revenue will increase to 88 percent, from 70 percent,” reads the Thursday blog post. “A clear, no-strings-attached revenue share means developers can bring more games to more players and find greater commercial success from doing so.”
All eyes turn to the PC mega-market Steam, owned by Valve Inc., who still take a 30% cut of every sale on their platform. Steam, however, has no real incentive to budge since they still hold a freakishly dominating market share over all PC games being played today.
Epic Games CEO Tim Sweeney has long paraded his company’s landmark decisions to better compensate developers, offer game-makers special exclusivity contracts and guarantee money up front so there is no financial risk to using the platform saying in a 202o statement, “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.” Sweeney has been slowly proven right as several gaming storefronts have made deals more in favor of developers since Sweeney’s business model.
Microsoft’s move comes with some surprise, but universally ends in relief. The trick is though, I don’t know anyone who buys games on the Microsoft store on PC unless they absolutely have to. The two games that flocked players to the market were Sea or Thieves and Forza Horizon 4. Both of those games, however, made their way to Steam over the past year.
Anyone holding their breath for Steam and Valve to change their developer cut ought to take a in a puff because it’s not going to happen. Steam and Valve have almost no public persona and have no reason to appeal to developers, nor gamers. Case and point, Valve has so much dummy money they ignored a European Commission order from the EU after Steam broke their geo-blocking regulations. If Steam can ignore the second-largest body of convening nations, I don’t think they will be swayed any time soon by Sweeney or people asking them to increase the developer cut of sales on their platform.