Epic Games, maker of Fortnite, to launch its own online games store

//Epic Games, maker of Fortnite, to launch its own online games store

Epic Games, maker of Fortnite, to launch its own online games store

For years Valve’s Steam has been the defacto marketplace for games on Windows and Linux PCs, with Apple’s App Store and Google’s Play Store the main avenues developers can use to get apps onto those companies’ respective operating systems. Developers pay a 30 per cent commission to distribute through the stores, which the companies say is fair for the cost of providing a trusted and secure marketplace and distribution system.

Epic CEO Tim Sweeney disagrees. He has said the 30 per cent commission is a markup of 300 per cent to 400 per cent. Epic can cut commissions in half and still be profitable, Sweeney said in a blog post announcing the project.

Epic's breakdown of fees on its new store versus Steam, for games developed with both Unreal Engine 4 and Unity.

Epic’s breakdown of fees on its new store versus Steam, for games developed with both Unreal Engine 4 and Unity.

Epic also makes Unreal Engine, a popular game creation tool used by many of the biggest developers. Unlike its rival Unity, Unreal Engine does not require up-front licensing fees, but Epic does take a royalty on revenue for Unreal games after a certain threshold. On its own store, Sweeney says Epic will wave those fees. Games made using Unity and other engines will be welcome on the store, he said.

In August, Epic said it wouldn’t distribute Fortnite through Google’s Play Store, instead asking players to visit its own site and download a special launcher that would open the game on Android devices. The method allows Epic to avoid the commission fee.

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At the time, Sweeny said the 30 per cent store tax “is a high cost in a world where game developers’ 70 per cent must cover all the cost of developing, operating, and supporting their games.

“On open platforms, 30 per cent is disproportionate to the cost of the services these stores perform, such as payment processing, download bandwidth, and customer service.”

Of course not many games are big enough to launch outside of the Google, Apple or Valve stores and still sell, but if Epic provides an alternative store, and assure players it’s secure, it could tempt developers over.

Shortly ahead of Epic’s announcement, Valve announced changes that would result in the biggest-selling games getting to keep more of the money made from sales.

If Google is eventually forced to cut commissions to match Epic’s, it could severely impact profit, Schachter said.

Epic’s store is unlikely to be available on iPhones, where Apple does not allow rivals to its own marketplace, but asking developers to pay a higher commission than competing stores could put pressure on Apple nonetheless.

Bloomberg, with Tim Biggs

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By | 2018-12-06T03:42:52+00:00 December 6th, 2018|threatpost|Comments Off on Epic Games, maker of Fortnite, to launch its own online games store

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