After only recently stating that there would need to be a “bloody good reason” to do an Epic Games Store exclusive, Jason Kingsley from Rebellion Developments has done just that. The statement came a month ago regarding the upcoming Zombie Army 4, all previous titles of which were released for Steam.
Speaking to journalist Seth Barton, studio founders Jason and Chris Kingsley discussed exactly what had changed to cause the decision. In the simplest terms, it came down to the financial incentives and support offered by Epic, who as Jason states, “are paying through the nose to build their store. All credit to them, it's fantastic, and we'll take some of their money, thank you very much.”
The conversation has continued to develop regarding the aggressive tactics used by Epic in its move to become a relevant, viable alternative to Steam, which has been the dominant player for well over a decade now.
Chris continued by describing the competition as he sees it akin to the old rivalry between Sony and Microsoft in their early days, which in his option, showed the problem of runaway success with the PlayStation 2, leading to complacency with the PlayStation 3. Without saying their name directly, this sums up how Steam has done little in terms of innovation in the past few years, and will needs to ensure it does something for its developers in the near future, less they all be persuaded to join Epic.
Jason described the offer by Epic as one big “attractive package”, and that the company looked to support their game. Recently, we have seen a major point of contention between Epic and Steam in how they split revenue with developers. For years, Steam has offered a 70% / 30% split of the revenue, with them taking the smaller amount.
Meanwhile, Epic has aggressively pursued developers by offering a far more generous revenue split, often around the 88% / 12%,. That leaves developers in a healthier financial state to pursue future projects, hire more staff, or simply survive in an industry that is becoming saturated. This is a big sticking point for Tim Sweeney, the CEO of Epic Games.
So long as Steam refuses to budge on its revenue split, Epic will continue working that angle to persuade developers over to their side. Clearly, it's working so far.
As always, it is the consumer who comes out on top when these large corporate giants come to a head. They may be massive, imposing entities on their own, but without the individual consumer dollar, they will falter.
This is why Epic games is giving away a free game per week for all of 2019, and is offering great deals throughout. By comparison, Steam has yet to try anything different. Ten years from now, will this be the point we look at Steam and say, “this was when they began to lose it all”?