Epic Games Store’s director of publishing strategy and SteamSpy creator, Sergey Galyonkin, posted some clarifications on Twitter in regards to the role of influencers on the store. This comes after a ResetEra post that purported to summarise statements Galyonkin made on his Russian-language podcast caused some concerns.
The post, which provides a great deal of commentary but almost no direct quotes, made the rounds yesterday. One thing that stood out was the 20 percent figure that Galyonkin offered as an example of what he might expect an indie developer to spend on influencers. It’s an extraordinarily high number, especially when compared to the 5 percent he gave as an example for larger, publisher-backed games.
On Twitter, Galyonkin clarified that it’s not mandatory and that he believes giving developers the option to send referral links to influencers, thereby giving them a share of the revenue, creates more parity between indie developers and big publishers.
On the other hand, it also levels the playing field for mid-sized and small creators. We found that ROI on small and mid-sized creators is actually better when running promotional campaigns, but there are so many of them, most devs can’t manage that. We’ll give them the tools.January 14, 2019
So developers won’t have to send referral links to influencers, but of course Epic expects them to. Galyonkin even calls influencers “one of the main discovery engines”, and it’s creating a marketplace where developers can devote a percentage of their revenue to get their attention.
As for making influencers one of the primary methods of discovering games when they’re invested in its success, Galyonkin doesn’t see a conflict of interest. When asked if it would lead to universally positive coverage, he didn’t believe it would affect their judgement.
Well, that’s how it works for Fortnite right now pretty much. Doesn’t prevent Support-a-Creator participants from expressing their (strong) opinions about some items in the game :)January 14, 2019
The way the referral program works is that influencers will only make money by referring people to the game. If they say it’s awful, their audience isn't likely to buy the game and they’re not going to get paid.
Epic will cover 5 percent of revenue sharing for the first 24 months, it revealed in a blog post last year. It wasn't clear if that meant from the game's launch or from the Epic Games Store's launch, but I've confirmed that it's the latter. Next year, developers will need to shell out themselves.