This year Epic is engaged in exclusive.
Steam is undoubtedly the most influential PC gaming platform today. In 2017, Valve only received $4.3 billion in revenue through Steam. This empire The rise of the game makes players inseparable from it, and many developers have to settle in it. But not everyone thinks Steam is a good thing.
In August 2018, the Epic Games Store (hereinafter referred to as EGS) went online, officially declared war on Steam, and adopted a lower share ratioThe strategy of example and exclusive sale entered the market.
Through substantial profit distribution, Epic gained support from many developers and publishers during the year. According to incomplete statistics, more than 40 games have been announced exclusively for sale on Epic.
Partially announced games exclusively sold by EGS
Epic announced at the Game Developers Conference (GDC) in March this year that the total number of EGS users has reached 85 million. Among the games that have been sold exclusively, the sales of "Metro: Gone" is 2.5 times that of the previous game "Metro: The Last Light", The sales of "Zombie World War" in EGS reached 250,000, and the sales of "Simulated Goat" developer's new work "Happy Factory" exceeded 500,000.
It seems that EGS, which has made a lot of actions in a short period of time, can really have a huge impact on Steam?
Why developers are willing to switch to Epic
Epic’s founder Tim Sweeney is a senior programmer, in 1998 He and his team completed their first game "Unreal", which supports 16-bit color and environmental effects. But really let this team be affected by The focus is on the engine used by the game. At the same time as the game was released, Tim announced that the game’s engine "Unreal Tournament" would be shared with other game developers. In 2014 At the game developer conference, Epic Games released a new engine "Unreal 4", game developers can subscribe for $19 a month to access the full version of the engine.
With the Unreal 4 engine, Epic has established close partnerships with many game developers, but there is one thing that keeps Tim very upset, thenIt is the 30% revenue share that the game platform receives from the game developer.
Tim believes that it is unfair for Steam to charge game developers a high share of 30 , Steam is only an intermediary that provides channels between developers and players, so it must be taken away from game developers. 30% of revenue. In contrast, Epic provides developers with Unreal 4 engine and only charges 5%.
At the 2017 Cologne Game Show, Tim gave a highly targeted speech, criticizing the high share of the game platform. "The game market system is very unfair. All application stores will receive a small amount of revenue from each transaction. 30%. This is weird, because both MasterCard and Visa credit cards only charge a service fee of $3 and use Bitcoin to make payments.For a $100 million transaction, the transaction cost is only a few cents. "
This speech is not only aimed at Steam, but also at GOG and some mobile app stores. He believes that digital stores charge 30% high share is unfair.
"Why did Activision, EA, and Ubisoft build their own stores? AllIt’s because 30% is too unfair."
Tim pointed out that the game platform set up CDN The cost of (content distribution network) is only 1% of game revenue, and the total cost of game platform will not exceed 7% to 8% of game revenue. 30% of the points become the game platform, which brings too much profit. “Most of the revenue goes to middlemen. This is a sign of market failure.The company could have put more money in other places, such as advertising, we should not be satisfied with the established order, we should find ways to reduce the income of the middlemen. "
So, there was EGS.
In December 2018, EGS squeezed into the PC game distribution market. This market is highly competitive, but the competition pattern has been It settles down. According to Steam Spy’s estimates, Valve earned $4.3 billion in revenue through the Steam store in 2017, and has a near-monopoly position in the competition of PC game stores. Large game companies such as Blizzard, Ubisoft, and EA He founded an independent platform based on his own popular games, but its sales have not reached 5% of Steam’s total sales.
EGS considered Steam as its biggest competitor at the beginning of its creation, and its strategy to enter the market is to obtain support from Steam for more game developers. Compared with Steam, Epic’s biggest advantage is The Unreal 4 engine ecology created by it determines that the connection between EGS and game developers is different from other stores.
In 2014, Epic launched the Unreal Mall, which is a platform for Unreal Engine users. In the store, game developers can find materials created by 3D modelers, art, sound engineers, and animators in the mall. In July 2018, Epic announced that the number of developers using the Unreal 4 engine worldwide has reached 630 million, the Unreal Mall has accumulated The number of downloads exceeded 8 million. At the same time, Epic also announced that it will lower the share of the Unreal Mall, reducing the original 30 The% share ratio was lowered to 12%, which paved the way for the defection of many game developers.
Limited free products on the Unreal Mall
In an interview with venturebeat in March 2019, Tim said that in the past three years, Epic allocated $5 million to support game development using Unreal Engine. Now this funding program has been cancelled and replaced by a new fund called Epic MegaGrants. Developers using the Unreal 4 engine can show their projects to Epic to apply for funding support.At the same time, there is no need to sign any contracts, and the total amount of this fund has reached 100 million US dollars.
For projects like this, Epic’s support for developers has achieved remarkable results. At the Unreal Engine Technology Open Day in May this year, Epic Games Greater China General Manager Wu Hao said that only in In China, the number of mobile games made with Unreal Engine has doubled five times a year. The number of developers in China has ranked second in the world. Epic will not only provide financial support to game developers, but also provide technical support.
Partially supported by the Epic Support ProgramGames
In addition to the above, Epic has also taken care of game developers in terms of sharing. EGS has offered game developers more favorable conditions for sharing. With the launch of EGS, Tim announced that games will be sold through EGS. , Epic will only charge a 12% revenue share, and if the developer’s game is made using Unreal Engine, it will be exempt from the 5% royalties originally payable.
In other words, if you use the Unreal 4 engine to make a game for sale on Steam, you need to add the income 30% is given to Steam as a share, and 5% of the income is given to Epic as the engine usage fee; but if you publish the game on Epic, Only 12% of the total game revenue needs to be paid.
This is very tempting for game developers.
How is EGS? Annoying Steam players
After EGS went live, Epic has been trying to tell the outside world that this store will provide more benefits to game developers. They have done a lot of things, but they have also angered. Players.
On Reddit (the sixth most visited website in the U.S.),Players created a section called "r/f*ckepic" to complain about Epic. Within three months, 24,500 players gathered here. They claimed that they had deleted their Epic store accounts. The players here posted A "why are you guys so against epic games" post to explain why they oppose EGS.
Initially, players pointed out that EGS is a Chinese company controlled by Tencent. In addition, EGS will pass the the client steals players’ personal information and provides it to Tencent. However, these allegations were quickly denied by Epic. Tim tweeted in response to “I It is Epic’s controlling shareholder. It has been the case since 1991. We now have many external investors. Tencent is the largest one. All Epic investors are our friends and partners. No one can influence Epic’s decision";
Tim also posted on Reddit in response to accusations of stealing players’ personal information. “The current problem arises because we were eager to implement social functions in the early days of Fortnite. Push fast so there is no solution, this is actuallyMy fault, we will solve this problem. ”
When these two issues were resolved, players’ accusations quickly shifted to Epic’s exclusive sale of the game through an agreement with the game manufacturer.
The Metro: Metro: produced by 4A Games "Leaving" was originally scheduled to be released in February 2019, and pre-orders were opened on Steam a few weeks before the release. However, shortly before the official release, the game suddenly announced that it would be exclusively sold on Epic. Valve accused the game publisher Deep Silver's business decision is "unfair", SteaThe m player chose not to recommend in the first two games of the "Metro" series to express his dissatisfaction.
"Metro: Exodus" is really gone
At the 2019 Game Developers Conference, Epic’s Steve Allison admitted that his team made a mistake in this situation," We have been talking with Deep Silver for a few months, and we also know that there is a possibility of angering fans in terms of communication. The result is more serious than we thought. We will not let this happen again."
But Tim insisted"Exclusivity" will be Epic's strategy to compete with dominant platforms. In April 19, Tim tweeted that "Since GDC, we have had a lot of discussions on this. Epic is willing to continue to sign financing/exclusive agreements between developers and publishers, regardless of their previous Whether to cooperate with Steam".
After the departure of "Metro: Exodus" from Steam, more games will be sold exclusively on Epic, including Gearbox Software’s Borderlands 3 and Deep Silver’s Shenmue 3, Quantic Dream's "Heavy Rain", "The Extraordinary Twins", and "Detroit: Become Human" will also be exclusive to Epic.
"Exclusive" is not a strategy of the Epic family. In the field of console games, Sony’s PS4 has proven that "exclusive" can bring huge benefits. In After the release of PS4 in 2013, 16 games announced that they will be exclusively released on PS4 in 2014. After that, "Uncharted 4", "God of War 4" and "Bloodborne" "The Curse" on PS4 has contributed to the growth of PS4 sales.
However, unlike PS4, players do not agree with Epic’s exclusive strategy. Reddit’sPlayers believe that most PS4 exclusive games are developed by or supported by Sony, while Epic only reduces the share for game developers.
At the same time, players pointed out that they want competition between gaming platforms to give them more choices, rather than reduce their choices. Epic has become an anti-competitive company trying to monopolize PC games in the matter of adopting exclusive sales to occupy the market. Players imagine that if platforms including Steam use exclusive competition, in addition to causing more inconvenience to players, some poorly managed platforms will face a more difficult situation (such as GOG).
GOG used to be the most promising platform to compete with Steam, but since 18 years, GOG has begun to reduce its business
Compared with Epic whose main strategy is exclusive, Steam is still Without taking any decision to enforce exclusivity, game manufacturers can sell Steam keys outside of the Steam store without sharing them with Steam.
Finally, players believe that EGS provides fewer functions than Steam and other platforms. Features include saving game progress in the cloud, commenting on the game, participating in a dedicated game forum... Tim and Epic also acknowledged this. Although Epic released their update plan for store features on Trello, players did not have enough Wait patiently, EGS has sold many popular games exclusively, But currently there is no platform service with the same level of quality as the game.
Comparison of some features of Steam and EGS
What broke the 3/7 rule of division
For The Epic exclusive game is on sale. Steam is naturally the most impacted. Players are chanting unfairness. Steam's response to "Metro: Leaving" in Epic exclusive is also "unfair."
In all PC game distribution channels, Steam and playersWe maintain the closest relationship. After 10 years of development, Steam's functions have been very sound. Functions including creative workshops have become a major feature of Steam, which makes many players reluctant to buy on other platforms game.
Pictures are from Steam Power
Serve players well and increase the player’s viscosity, so that you can gain a greater say in transactions with game developers, so between Steam and developers 3/ The 7-point rule has never been shaken. PCgamer once pointed out that Valve’s current revenue mainly comes from three projects: STeam, "Dota2", "CS: GO", among which Steam's revenue growth is very important to Valve.
And Epic's exclusive strategy is equivalent to a draw from the bottom for Steam. The channel loses the developer and therefore the player.
In order to retain game developers, Steam has to make a share of 30% Compromise. In December 2018, Steam issued a new sharing rule. If the game's sales are between US$10 million and US$50 million, the share ratio will drop to 25%; if the game's sales exceed US$5,000, Steam will only take 20% of the share.
To some extent, Steam’s new division scheme is just hoping that capable and reputable game manufacturers like Ubisoft and EA will return to Steam’s distribution system. The games of these manufacturers are for players It has a strong appeal. Before March of this year, Epic was aiming at exactly this kind of games. Both 4A Games’ Metro: Exodus and Ubisoft’s The Division 2 have contributed to Epic’s user growth. .
But Steam has also lostRegardless, some small game developers have another attitude towards the introduction of this rule. One developer said in an interview with The Verge, “It’s a gamble to put your game on Steam. Upload your The game needs to spend money. If it doesn’t reach a certain sales threshold, you won’t get any money at all."
Freya Holmér, the co-founder of the independent game company Neat, said on Twitter, "Because Valve is in It had an impact on my income in early October. Do they adopt a 30% or less share ratio for me It’s not much different.” Due to the changed recommendation calculationLaw, the sales of indie games produced by Neat have decreased, and their games themselves cannot reach sales of 10 million or 50 million US dollars.
More and more small and medium-sized game developers and game publishers chose to join Epic this year. During E3 this year, 15 games chose to sell exclusively on Epic. Independent game developer House House announced that the new game "Untitled Goose" (Untitled Goose) will be sold exclusively on EGS. The developer pointed out that Epic has provided support to their team during their difficult times., The cooperation with Epic will allow them to make games sustainably in the future.
Untitled Goose Simulation
Steam was once considered by game developers to be the most open PC game platform. Its core structure is a series of systems and algorithms designed by Valve, which are designed to be unbiased Recommending games to users, Valve uses many ways to improve the openness and fairness of Steam, and players can also freely evaluate games.
Steam has also launched the GreenLight project (GreenLight), players canVote on independent games to determine which games will be released on the platform, although this plan is already offline.
But Steam’s former dominance has begun to shake, and the 30% that has not changed for many years is divided into large games Developers break away and start their own stores; now the 12% share proposed by Epic is for SteamAfter a lot of trouble, some independent game developers chose to defect to EGS.
In February this year, Tim said on Twitter that unless Steam accepts the same 12/88 ratio as Epic, it will stick to the exclusive strategy. However, it is difficult for Steam to make such a change. Under the same conditions, if Steam will reduce its share from 30% To 12%, then Steam's revenue will be reduced by 60% instead of 18%.
The reason why Epic was able to set a 12/88 ratio was on the one hand to break the near-monopoly PC game distribution pattern of Steam, on the other handIt is supported by the income of "Fortnite". Similarly, Tim also said on Twitter that exclusive behavior will only be a short-term strategy to gain an advantage in the competition with Steam.
Relying on the income from "Fortnite", Tim was among the top 500 richest people in the world by Bloomberg at the beginning of this year. At the same time, Valve's boss, G Fat, is also on this list, ranking behind Tim
Whether it is Epic’s exclusive strategy of drawing salaries from the bottom of the tank, or Steam’s strategy of abandoning the car to save handsome, it is not a long-term plan: Epic’s face is not unlimitedWith less money, Steam’s revenue pressure will increase.
For players, both Steam and Epic are just game stores that provide services. The competition between the two ultimately cannot avoid the result of making players pay the bill. Fortunately, the competition between them has led to many developments. The dilemma faced by the players is fully exposed, which will affect some players' decisions.
So, maybe only when Epic's services to players become more and more perfect, and after building its own huge user circle, he can pose a fundamental threat to Steam. I believe that Steam will not wait to die in this process. This PC channel war may have just begun.
https://www.pcgamer .com/gabe-newell-drops-a-half-life-3-joke-into-his-valve- index-launch-party-speech/
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