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Steam takes too much time, according to a recent GDC poll.

Microsoft has announced plans to reduce their cut from PC game sales on the Microsoft Store, with developers soon receiving 88 percent rather than the industry standard 70 percent. This will bring them in line with the Epic Games Store exactly. While the Microsoft Store is undeniably bad, this will only put more pressure on Valve to give developers a larger share of Steam sales.

“Starting on August 1, the developer share of Microsoft Store PC games sales revenue will increase to 88%, from 70%,” said Sarah Bond, Microsoft’s head of game creator experience & ecosystem. “Having a clear, no-strings-attached revenue share means developers can bring more games to more players and find greater commercial success from doing so.”

It’s interesting to note that Microsoft and the Epic Games Store both have an 88/12 split. Epic has publicly lobbied for more retailers to join them in providing better cuts. While I understand that this is motivated in part by self-interest in order to make Valve look bad in order to boost their own business, I can’t say that I disagree with giving developers more money.

In their most recent annual survey, the Game Developers Conference asked developers about store closures. Only 6% of the “over 3000” respondents, the majority of whom are PC game developers, thought 30 percent or more was “a justifiable amount” for a store to take. The lower options were chosen by 73 percent of respondents. A samp of 3000-odd people isn’t a huge sample size.

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In their most recent annual survey, the Game Developers Conference asked developers about store closures. Only 6% of the “over 3000” respondents, the majority of whom are PC game developers, thought 30 percent or more was “a justifiable amount” for a store to take. The lower options were chosen by 73 percent of respondents. Although 3000-plus people isn’t a large sample size, nearly a quarter said they weren’t sure or simply didn’t know. I don’t believe all stores are created equal.

In every way, the Microsoft Store is garbage, while the Epic Games Store is a clumsy storefront with a slow client that lacks many of the features that Steam has had for years. The Xbox Game Pass is the only reason to visit the Microsoft Store today, whereas Epic is forced to buy users by spending hundreds of millions of dollars on exclusives and paying for giveaways. More customers, a better client, and great features like Remote Play Together are all possible with Steam. Developers will not abandon Steam in favor of the Microsoft Store. While Steam isn’t without flaws, Valve goes above and beyond for their cut – though I’m not sure what percentage I’d value that at.

Valve, on the other hand, isn’t committed to a 70/30 split. They do take smaller cuts from successful games, dropping to 25% after $10 million in sales and 20% after $50 million. That only benefits big publishers and the occasional breakout hit, and it appears to be more of a ploy to keep the biggest games from defecting than Valve trying to do the right thing. Valve will take 30% of the revenue from the vast majority of developers. Yes, Valve, at the very least, extend this 80/20 split to everyone. Sure, you don’t have to, but don’t just help the wealthy become even wealthier.

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Microsoft is “bringing more quality-of-life improvements to PC gamers, including improved install reliability and faster download speeds over the next few months,” according to Matt Booty, the head of Xbox Game Studios. The MS Store’s flaws are far more serious, but I guess it’ll be faster junk? Developers will also benefit from a better deal.

On that note, the Epic Games Store recently added the Itch.io launcher, effectively incorporating the indie game store into their own. I’m intrigued. Perhaps they’re trying to bolster their case in their app store battles by demonstrating that they’re fine with people selling things inside their store without paying them a commission. Perhaps they’re attempting to approach Steam from a different angle by providing access to the unique indie games that their store lacks. But hey, if it brings more attention to Itch, I’m all for it. Itch, you have a lovely store. It allows developers to set their own store cut, you know. Everyone could learn a thing or two from him.

Source: Rock Paper Shotgun

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