Majority of game developers surveyed are unhappy with digital game store profit shares

A recent Game Developers Conference survey of digital game store profit shares found that many developers believe that a 30% cut in profits is too high.


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Digital game stores are becoming more mainstream, providing consumers with an easy way to purchase a variety of different games at often discounted prices. But on the developer side of the equation, many believe the 30% drop in profits for popular digital stores like Steam and GOG is too high, according to a 2021 GDC survey of the state of the gaming industry. So While digital stores provide good exposure for small games that might otherwise go unnoticed by gamers, apparently only 6% of surveyed game developers, large and small, believe a 30% cut in profits is warranted.

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While digital store giants like Steam have been around since 2003, the COVID-19 pandemic has skyrocketed digital game sales relative to their physical counterparts. Digital game sales have seen a huge spike across Europe in 2020, and individual developers like Control‘s Remedy Entertainment made 90% of its sales through digital downloads last year. With more and more developers relying on digital sales to have good profit margins for game releases, it seems they’ve also felt the brunt of a 30% cut in profits even more.

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The State of the Gaming Industry 2021 survey also found that 43% of game developers, mostly from Europe and North America, believe a 10-15% cut is warranted. It also echoes sentiments from the 2020 and 2019 polls, where game developers initially said that a 30% reduction on Steam in particular is too high and that the site isn’t doing enough to justify taking it. Steam and Apple both recently made adjustments to their 30% catch, but these changes only affect certain developers on each platform. The notable detractor of the 30% catch standard is the Epic Games Store, which only takes a 12% cut.



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The Epic Games Store has made a name for itself since 2018, mainly due to the large amount of free games that the store is constantly offering. While there have been around 745 million free Epic Games Store games claimed by players since 2018, the site has also reportedly lost over $ 450 million in potential revenue. The Epic Games Store also struggles to compete with Steam, as only 6% of developers surveyed say they get most of their revenue from the Epic Games Store and 47% of developers surveyed get more than half of their revenue. Steam revenues. 78% of the same developers don’t sell anything on the Epic Games Store either.


The current Apple / Epic lawsuit over Apple’s control over payment processing for in-app purchases in games like Fortnite also called more attention to the disparity between Epic’s 12% cut and Apple’s 30% cut. Many gamers and game developers are curious to see how the trial unfolds and where the conversation will be next regarding 30% of digital storefront shots. For now, it is clear that the developers are hoping that the profit shares of digital stores will decline in the near future.

MORE: Digital-Only PS3 Games To Play Before PlayStation Store Closes

Source: PC Gamer


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