Epic Games CEO Tim Sweeney has been making some bold claims on Twitter, which is always fun for spectators and perhaps terrifying for investors. Once again, the subject is the Epic Games Store's divisive exclusivity strategy, which has ruffled feathers while taking a fair number of prominent games off Steam. Sweeney claims all of that will end if Steam commits to an 88 percent revenue share for developers.
In a series of tweets that started out discussing Epic's 12 percent revenue share (opens in new tab), Sweeney repeated what he's said is his main issue with Steam: "30% store dominance is a #1 problem for PC developers, publishers, and everyone who relies on those businesses for their livelihood."
Epic is determined to fix that, apparently, wielding exclusivity like a stick. If Valve reduced its share, matching Epic's, it will back off.
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.April 25, 2019
"Stores could go back to just being nice places to buy stuff," he added, "rather than the Game Developer IRS."
With Valve unlikely to capitulate just because of a tweet, or even because of Epic exclusives, it's probably something Sweeney doesn't need to worry about implementing any time soon, and is certainly easier said than done.
Sweeney also added a few (opens in new tab) caveats (opens in new tab), including "games can use any online systems like friends and accounts" and "no onerous certification requirements". He says the goal is an open platform where you just visit Steam to find games and buy them.
I've reached out to Epic to see if this is actually something that it's committed to, but even if that was the case, statements about exclusivity have been walked back before.
After being criticised over the Metro Exodus exclusive deal, which saw the game vanish from Steam and appear only on the Epic Games Store at the last minute, Epic's Steve Allison said that Epic would never do that again (opens in new tab). But then it happened again. Anno 1800, at least, could still be pre-purchased on Steam until it launched. After Allison's comments, Epic discussed its stance (opens in new tab) and decided to leave it up to the developers and publishers.