- Epic Games, the company behind “Fortnite,” recently launched a digital storefront for PC video games called the Epic Games store.
- Ubisoft, the developer of the highly anticipated game “The Division 2,” will release the game in the Epic Games store instead of the most popular online platform for PC games, Steam.
- Epic Games only takes 12% of the revenue generated by sales in their store, while Steam takes a 30% cut from transactions.
- If Ubisoft and other major publishers continue to support Epic’s business model, it could lead players to change their purchasing habits and force Steam to change their policies.
The creators of “Fortnite” scored a big win over the world’s biggest PC gaming platform when they convinced a major publisher to make one of the biggest PC releases of the year exclusive to their online store.
Ubisoft will launch “Tom Clancy’s The Division 2” on March 15 in the Epic Games Store and on Ubisoft’s own Uplay service. The sequel is one of the most anticipated action games of the year and a high-profile release for Ubisoft, one of the few studios capable of making multiple AAA titles per year. Unlike its predecessor, “The Division 2” will not be released on the Steam digital marketplace, which is currently the most popular platform for PC games.
“As long-time fans and partners of Ubisoft, we’re thrilled to bring a range of awesome Ubisoft games to the Epic Games store,” Epic founder and CEO Tim Sweeney said in a statement. “We aim to provide the most publisher-friendly store, providing direct access to customers and an 88% revenue split, enabling game creators to further reinvest in building great games.”
Epic launched their digital storefront a month ago, offering developers a larger percentage of sales revenue than the competition. The company is taking just 12% of revenue from sales in the Epic Games Store, less than half of what Steam or the Apple and Google app stores charge for distributing digital content. With Epic’s business model offering a better profit margin, some developers have already made their games exclusive to the Epic Games Store.
Epic is also giving an even better revenue split to developers who use their Unreal Engine technology to create games. Though Epic typically takes 5% in royalties of all revenue from games using Unreal, those fees are waived for Unreal games sold in the Epic Games Store. While Unreal is already used in dozens of games each year, this gives smaller developers greater incentive to adopt the engine and focus on marketing their games through Epic.
Just days before Epic’s store went live, Steam announced that it would be adjusting its revenue-sharing agreement to reward the best-selling games on the platform. Games that earn more than $US10 million will earn a 75%/25% split, while those that earn $US50 million or more are boosted to an 80%/20% revenue-sharing rate. Still, the rates are considerably less favourable than Epic’s offerings.
With “Tom Clancy’s The Division 2,” Ubisoft is hoping the game’s massive PC fanbase will be willing to move away from Steam to access the game. More than 80 million players use Epic’s platform to play “Fortnite” each month, which will help other games in their store gain exposure. With online features in “The Division 2” functioning primarily through Uplay, the move from Steam to Epic’s platform will have little to no impact on player experience.
“We entrust Epic to deliver a smooth journey for our fans, from preordering the game and enjoying our Beta to the launch of ‘Tom Clancy’s The Division 2’ on March 15,” Chris Early, Ubisoft’s vice president of partnerships said in a statement. “Epic continues to disrupt the video game industry, and their third party digital distribution model is the latest example, and something Ubisoft wants to support.”
Players can pre-order the standard, gold, or ultimate edition of “The Division 2” in the Epic Games store now to gain access to the private beta before the game’s launch, and the full game will be released on PC, PS4, and Xbox One on March 15th. Ubisoft plans to announce more games coming to the Epic Games store later in the year.
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