For the past decade, Valve's steam has been the de facto standard for digital games on the PC. Do you want a game? Install Steam and download it. Lately, new launchers have evolved against Steam, but none was so well positioned that it could assert itself as Epic.
There are several factors that can enable Epic to transition from a well-known developer to a digital distribution company. First, it already has a large number of PC players via Fortnite . Second, players are tired of Valve's lack of attitude towards his platform, and they are finally ready (if not happy) to opt for a rather broken collection. And third, Epic comes up with a deal that partnering developers can not refuse.
Fortnite Is Epic's Trojan Horse
Steam started as an online platform for Valves multiplayer games like Counter-Strike . Originally, users were unfamiliar with the background software and DRM. These are two things that still annoy users today, at least in all except Steam, as it has proven to be pretty straightforward and inconspicuous. Valve sold digital copies of its own games in Steam's integrated store, but did not accept third-party games until 2005, a few years after the platform began. The profits for digital games were far higher than the retail sales, because the overhead was lower and the money did not have to be shared with the retailers – third-party developers and publisher partners instead paid Valve.
The release of The Orange Box started in 2007. The omnibus game package included the highly anticipated Half-Life 2: Episode 2 Instant One-off Single-player Puzzle Portal and the surprise hit Team Fortress 2 . Players were able to download The Orange Box directly from Steam Digital, but by that time conventional retail sales were still king, and Valve took advantage of this. Steam, along with the single copies of The Orange Box has been installed to enable DRM and online multiplayer management, and to make millions of new players commit their games to an online account rather than a physical disk , [19659008DerRestistwiesiesagenGeschichteSteamwurdezurdominierendenPlattformfürPC-SpieledigitaloderanderweitigDiemeistenderneuenSpieledieSieauchimEinzelhandelkaufenwerdenüberdasValve-SystemaktiviertMitDigitalverkäufenerzieltSteamjährlichDutzendeMilliardenDollarSteam-AktivierungscodessindbeiDutzendenvonDrittanbieternerhältlichTausendevonEntwicklernundPublishernvonweltbegeistertenKolossenwieUbisoftundSquare-EnixbishinzudenkleinstenEin-personTeamsverwendenesEsistdasAmazonasvonPC-SpielenValveistkaumnocheinEntwickler:SiesinddefactoHerausgeberundDistributionsplattformfüreinengroßenTeilderBranche
To complete the process, you need your own Orange Box your own "killer app" to a to use outdated phrase. And if such an app exists, it is Fortnite . Originally a pretty tame Minecraft zombie shooter mashup, Epic turned the focus of the game on the success of the indie hit Battlefields of Player Unknown . They introduced a free Battle Royale mode, and although not the first or last of its kind, it's the dominant game on PCs, consoles, and even mobile devices.
Fortnite is inevitable thanks to an entertaining, aesthetic, simple shooter mechanic, a constantly changing game world with updates, and a free-to-play model that does not punish people who have been punished for nothing. More than 200 million people are playing the game via PC, PlayStation, Xbox, Switch, iOS and Android. If you need evidence that Fortnite dominates the game scene in both pure numbers and heart and mind, Valve has released his own Battle Royale mode for Counter-Strike. It's estimated that Epic has earned Fortnite over a billion dollars, and every single copy of it on the PC runs Epic's Game Launcher.
And now these players also run the Epic Store. It's a perfect (though obvious) way to challenge Steam's dominance in digital distribution on the PC. Epic is ideally positioned to reach the next billion and many more later.
Players are tired of valve bubbles
Steam is a reliable platform. That's about as much as you can say: you can buy games, you can download games, you can use the multiplayer features of Valve for the titles they use. However, one can not ignore the fact that Valve has become a ghost in its own business: the company has not had a major release since DOTA 2 five years ago, and the company's only notable project since then has been Artifact . The trading card game has been poorly accepted, thanks to a particularly monstrous microtransaction model that demands a lot of money and effort from players, a notable difference to Fortnite .
Valve tried to make Steam a platform for home streaming. It's functional, but it did not develop as Valve wanted-they recently abandoned their remote streaming device. Valve tried to expand into virtual reality. The system is functional again, but hardly the revolution Valve had hoped for. The company even tried to develop its own Linux-based operating system for games that was technically successful, but proved to be poor in supporting hardware partners and game developers. Valve builds its own Steam.TV service to expand into the territory of Twitch. The results are not known yet. The same applies to the chat service in the style of Discord. Steam now also sells movies and desktop software, and nobody seems to care.
It seems Valve is not expanding his platform, that's what appeals to him. First Place: Publishing your own games. A collectible card game and a few token updates to Counter-Strike do not make a happy fanbase. If you need a Half-Life 3 joke here, pretend I made one.
Worst of all, players are bored and frustrated with Steam's status quo. With hundreds of thousands of titles ranging from large publishers to indie shovelware, it has never been more difficult to separate the chaff from Steam's online store. Valve tried to correct the course of the growing quality problem without significant improvements. Although user reviews and curated suggestions are available, they are abused by all players who are upset about individual developers. Expressed in a simple way; it is a mess.
Valve Does not Do Itself as the Proverbial Head of Household A bewildering attitude toward adult content, bugs in algorithms that have been helped by smaller developers, and scams and malware hidden in some games are some of the recent controversies. When Steam makes headlines, the news is rarely good.
Steam is not in immediate danger of losing its position at the top of the PC gaming class totem. Despite Activision-Blizzard, EA, and Bethesda's attempts to create their own walled gardens, most players prefer having all their games in one place, and Steam's dominance means it will not change soon.
But these alternative pitchers of big publishers are stubborn thorns in Valve's side. The better-known titles such as Battlefield Overwatch Fallout Destiny and Anthem (and oh yes, Fortnite ) need their own launcher and stores based on Focus on publishers. The undisputed number of Steam users will be that each game is available in its familiar interface. And, as annoying as it is to need half a dozen different game managers on your gaming PC (see the fragmentation of online streaming video services for a similar malaise), it quickly becomes the norm again.
Other game stores offer juicy carrots to attract players. GOG has a long legacy over older titles, a good selection of new titles and a DRM-free engagement that is admirable. Twitch, owned by Amazon, offers tons of free freebies for Prime members installing the launcher, and EAs Origin offers free freebies and a surprisingly valuable subscription model. After a decade of dominance, the honeymoon between Steam and PC players is over. Valve is in a much less secure location than it was a few years ago, and it's not anyone's fault but itself.
Developers can not wait to lose steam
All these puzzle pieces are important for the rise of a new one competitors. As Steam continues to be at the forefront, developers need a compelling reason to offer their games exclusively on a different platform. It means losing a huge and easily accessible audience, which means losing sales, which means losing money.
What does Epic have to offer to drive developers away? To be honest, money. Players selling their titles through the Epic Store will retain 88% of the selling price of their games, cutting Epic for the platform by 12%. Compare this to a reduction of 20-30% for Steam, depending on the distribution and the sales achieved. Games that sell more, keep more – something that does not make smaller indie developers happy.
In a highly competitive industry, ten to twenty percent more sales on each sale can make the difference if one developer earns enough to make his profits next game or shut down and close the Game Dev bread line. It does not hurt that developers in a new store with comparatively few games get more room in Epic's Storefront over Steam. And many of them already have a relationship with Epic, as the company sells and maintains the popular Unreal gaming engine.
Developers are indeed aware. In addition to Fornite Epic's Game Store also secured exclusive distribution for notable indie titles such as Super Meat Boy Forever Hades Ashen Rebell Galaxy Outlaw and Satisfactory – Games developed by Steam's indie circles Mover and Shaker. Some come after a period of exclusivity or early access to other platforms, including Steam, but the ultimate launch will take place in Epic's store – an epic win for a platform that is above its weight.
Developers are not the only winners With a more generous revenue split, devs can limit their games deeper and more frequently and even compete with the legendary sales events for Steam sales. Epic already takes a page from EA in this respect: The platform offers a named free game every two weeks. Subnautica heads the cargo later this week.
[19659008Accordingto Fortnite Epic does not have a large AAA Exclusive product that can compete with EA's or Activision's giant Tentpole games. However, the library is growing fast and a few achievements will lubricate the rails so that even more developers can board. Probably the most vocal advocate for Epic's Game Store and the more generous attitude to revenue comes from Tommy Refenes, the inventor of Super Meat Boy. He said in the sequel's discourse channel that Epic's Game Store "is badly needed to make Steam shit." Super Meat Boy Forever will come to Steam in 2020 after selling only one year on Epic.
Epic's Store Needs to Work and Steam Can Beat It Down
Steam currently has many advantages over Epic Base, aside from its massive user base. Epic has nothing to do with user reviews or curation, and the mod support is years behind Steam's integrated workshop. There is no automated system for the delivery or approval of games, so developers currently have to interact personally with Epic. (Although, in light of the problems with the Shovelware with Steam Greenlight and Steam Direct, not only the general stigma of early access is mentioned, this might also be a good thing.)
Epic's consumer tools leave much to be desired: At the moment, there is no automatic refund system with a cumbersome manual approval process that holds the door for an improved system without ETA. There does not even seem to be a wishlist system, and you can not buy an Epic gift card. Of course, the Epic Store is brand new and Steam was not built in a day. But every feature that Steam has and Epic does not, is another reason for developers and players, at least for the time being, to stick to the devil they know.
If this battle brings a price war, then Valve can afford the fight. There's nothing to stop Steam from changing revenue split to hit or hit Epic's 88%, and Valve can now court larger players than Epic. Publishers may dare to distance themselves from Steam, but the promise of a few million more dollars and the world's largest audience for PC gamers would greatly enhance those relationships.
That is, whether you are advertising for a new industrial player or laying the screws on an old colossus, the developers are getting more options and earning more money. And that generally means that they are also better at finding new customers – customers who may also see lower prices. Developers, publishers and gamers win when platforms compete with each other. The only potential big loser here is Valve. Maybe it's finally time to make Half-Life 3 right?