Developers can now self-publish their games on the Epic Games Store, the storefront for PC games operated by the Fortnite and Rocket League publishers. It is a significant achievement for the store, which has steadily added features in recent years to better compete with Steam. It could also be a big deal for some developers, as it simplifies the publishing process and helps them find a new — and potentially larger — audience than they might find on Steam’s crowded homepage, which sells both games and Valve’s Steam Deck.
Epic’s submission requirements differ significantly from Steam’s in that online multiplayer games must support PC cross-play. In other words, the Epic Games Store release of a game must allow you to play it online with individuals who purchased it from other stores, such as Steam or the Xbox PC app.
From a consumer’s perspective, it is ultimately a good thing to enforce this, even though developers will likely have to put in a lot of effort to implement it. Arkane Studios is setting a good example, as it recently announced that Redfall will support cross-platform play on PC, and is going a step further by also supporting cross-platform play on Xbox consoles.
Similar to Valve’s Steam, Epic charges a one-time fee of $100 to self-publish a game (alternatives such as itch.io remain free), but the revenue split with the Epic Game Store is more favorable to the developer than with Steam. Epic collects 12% of game sales revenue, compared to Steam’s much higher (but industry-standard) 30% revenue share for the majority of games. In 2018, Steam modified a portion of its revenue sharing plan, increasing the revenue share of top sellers earning over $10 million.
Additionally, Epic revealed in its Year in Review 2022 that the 99 free games it gave away in 2018 were worth $2,240. It also confirmed that free games will continue to be distributed in 2023. Therefore, my colleague Owen Good will continue to provide weekly updates on new games.