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Tim Sweeney: Epic would stop pursuing exclusives if Steam improved its revenue share

Epic CEO says Steam committing to permanent 88% revenue share would be "a glorious moment in the history of PC gaming"

Yesterday, Epic Games CEO Tim Sweeney said that the company cease pursuing paid exclusives on the Epic Games store if its main competitor, Steam, were to commit to matching Epic's 88/12 revenue share model.

"If Steam committed to a permanent 88% revenue share for all developers and publishers without major strings attached, Epic would hastily organize a retreat from exclusives (while honoring our partner commitments) and consider putting our own games on Steam," he said in a tweet.

"Such a move would be a glorious moment in the history of PC gaming, and would have a sweeping impact on other platforms for generations to come," he continued. "Then stores could go back to just being nice places to buy stuff, rather than the Game Developer IRS."

Sweeney was referring to the Epic Games store's revenue share model where the developer receives 88% of each purchase and Epic receives 12%, in contrast to Steam's revenue share tiers ranging from a 70/30 split up to 80/20 for games that bring in over $50 million in revenue.

Elsewhere in the thread, Sweeney noted that 12% was the cut chosen by Epic to balance both a "super competitive deal for partners" while also keeping the store profitable for the company to run.

Since the Epic Games store launched, a number of titles that had either seen former series entries release on Steam or had even already been planned for release on Steam (in the notable case of Metro Exodus) have migrated to the store following payouts from Epic for PC storefront exclusivity. It's a strategy Epic Games has stood by despite criticism, but one which Epic's director of publishing strategy Sergey Galyonkin has said the company will move away from eventually.

Last month, Sweeney confirmed that the reason the company was able to court these exclusivity deals was due to a sizeable war chest from the success of Fortnite Battle Royale. Earlier this week, a Polygon report revealed that this success resulted in massive crunch on the development side of Epic Games, with employees reporting regular 70-hour work weeks, some reporting up to 100-hour work weeks, and other practices such as employees being fired if they refused to work on a weekend.

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Rebekah Valentine: Rebekah arrived at GamesIndustry in 2018 after four years of freelance writing and editing across multiple gaming and tech sites. When she's not recreating video game foods in a real life kitchen, she's happily imagining herself as an Animal Crossing character.
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