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Epic Store will stop exclusives if Steam changes revenue split, CEO says

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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.  

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"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. 

Fraser Brown
Fraser Brown

Fraser is the UK online editor and has actually met The Internet in person. With over a decade of experience, he's been around the block a few times, serving as a freelancer, news editor and prolific reviewer. Strategy games have been a 30-year-long obsession, from tiny RTSs to sprawling political sims, and he never turns down the chance to rave about Total War or Crusader Kings. He's also been known to set up shop in the latest MMO and likes to wind down with an endlessly deep, systemic RPG. These days, when he's not editing, he can usually be found writing features that are 1,000 words too long or talking about his dog.