After Epic Undercut Steam, Discord Tries To One-Up Both PC Game Stores

Steam's got even more competition now.

31 Comments
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Discord has announced that in 2019, the launcher will offer 90 percent of the revenue share made off of game sales to developers. That deal undercuts every offer on other major online PC game stores.

"We noticed a change happening in the game industry. We talked to a lot of developers, and many of them feel that current stores are not earning their 30% of the usual 70/30 revenue share," the company said on its blog. "Because of this, we now see developers creating their own stores and launchers to distribute their games instead of focusing on what’s really important --making great games and cultivating amazing communities.

"So, we asked ourselves a few more questions. Why does it cost 30% to distribute games? Is this the only reason developers are building their own stores and launchers to distribute games? Turns out, it does not cost 30% to distribute games in 2018. After doing some research, we discovered that we can build amazing developer tools, run them, and give developers the majority of the revenue share."

Steam is one of those stores that is taking 20-30 percent from developers on a tiered earning structure. Discord's announcement comes in the same month that Epic undercut Steam with the reveal that its store would only take 12 percent of a game's revenue share and have no tiers to the profit-sharing. Certain PC games are also being offered exclusively through Epic's store--like Hades and Journey, and Discord has a 90-day exclusivity on some titles through the "First on Discord" program as well. For the first time in a while, Steam has some serious competition.

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In 2019, Discord said it plans to "extend access to the Discord store and our extremely efficient game patcher by releasing a self-serve game publishing platform." Everyone from AAA developers to smaller indie devs will be able to publish games on Discord's store and retain 90% of revenue, with the remaining 10% covering Discord's operating costs. Discord has said it will also "explore lowering it by optimizing our tech and making things more efficient."

Discord has cited Nitro's growing success as the reason for why Discord doesn't need to compete with developers for revenue. Nitro is a Netflix-like service for PC games, offering players a library of 60+ titles for $10 USD. Although the service mostly offers indie games, such as Inside and Wasteland 2: Director's Cut, there are triple-A titles like Metro: Last Light Redux and Darksiders II Deathinitive Edition as well. Discord has plans of adding more games to the service in the coming months.

Discord did not provide a specific date for when its store will start offering developers 90 percent of their game's revenue share.

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Avatar image for lonesamurai00
lonesamurai00

Epic and Discord are good for competition, but they are quite silly at the same time. Epic simply can't take on Steam or GOG. Where was Epic when the PC platform wasn't as huge a platform as it is today, or when devs weren't bringing all of their third-party titles to the platform - they were too bust making Gear of War for Xbox that's where. Now the PC is the flavor because of Steam and GOG and now they decide that they want a piece. As far as I'm concerned it's much too late. Valve made Steam because Microsoft wouldn't and they got tired of the PC being ignored for various reasons compared to consoles, so they did something about it and they did it because they cared for the platform as does CD Project RED.

Companies like EA, Ubisoft, and now Epic just want to cash in because they're jealous of what Valve has done for the platform but it ain't genuine. Out of the three other stores that I mentioned EA has become okay now, they understand how to please PC Gamers much better today and they did have the foresight to include returns for purchases, so Origin I think is okay as well, but I don't visit them nearly as much as Steam and GOG. Japan has embraced the PC platform because of Steam alone. Hopefully their devs will start to work with GOG a bit more in the future.

Avatar image for speed45823
speed45823

@lonesamurai00: Agreed 100 percent. Also remember when Epic Games said that they will not make games for PC cause 90 percent people are pirates ? Now that the PC gaming scene is bigger than its ever been thanks to Steam and GOG, they've crawled back from their hole and wants a piece of the pie.

Avatar image for lonesamurai00
lonesamurai00

@speed45823: Seems like they're creating the toxic business practice of making games exclusive to their store. This should never happen on the PC at all. Valve ain't perfect, but they never tried to have exclusive rights to sell certain games, not to mention that Epic is linked to a particular country that I don't trust, and they had over 9 million Epic Games accounts hacked this year. Nah they ain't getting my credit cards involved in this.

One thing (if anything) that I have always loved about Steam is that there are no shareholders involved, just guys looking out for the platform.

Avatar image for speed45823
speed45823

@lonesamurai00: That's true. That's one of the reason why I'll always stick with Steam. Valve being a private company has full control over Steam. They don't have to worry about any shareholder or them controlling the company or other corporations forcefully acquiring them and changing policies for the worse. As a Steam user, I feel the safest doing any kind of transaction on Steam and as well as know that my games I purchase there will be safe. We make memes of Gabe Newell (Lord Gaben) but really what he and his team has done to the PC industry is nothing short of a monumental achievement. And really more than anything else, the guys at Valve cares about the PC community. This fundamental philosophy of theirs reflects on Steam and we, the PC community are even grateful for it.

Avatar image for s1taz4a3l
s1taz4a3l

I dont see how this is a challenge to EPIC, since Tencent owns stakes in both and Tencent settles for nothing less than 100% share holder rights, besides Epics aims to challenge the google store as well since a lot of content there is developed using unreal engine.

Only HC steam dinosaurs will wave their Steam flags saying they are not going anywhere because they have 100 game libraries. The ice age of steam has begun.

2019 doesnt look good for steam, they shelved their failed steamboxes and VR never took off.

Cant find anywhere on how both Epic and discord will handle key resellers since they are the ones that hurt developers the most. While services like steam blame it on piracy to hide the fact they take their 30% from resold keys with no shame while offering zero support to developers.

Avatar image for lion2447
lion2447

Great, more clutter in the marketplace. Soon I'm going to need a hard drive just to handle all the stores and game loaders.

Avatar image for hrv_25
hrV_25

@lion2447: who doesn't use discord you pleb?

Avatar image for lion2447
lion2447

@hrv_25: To answer your question, I don't. Why that makes me a "pleb" as you would like to call it, I wouldn't know. Also, I don't understand the need to insult someone just because they prefer not to have their hard drive cluttered up with a dozen different stores just to play a dozen games.

If Epic can create a game store that gives the customers a better experience while also allowing developers to keep more of their money, then all the best to them. But, it is most likely being created to generate more profit for themselves (or better yet, Epic's shareholders.) There is no philanthropy at work here. Just like Steam and every other digital store front out there, it's being made solely to collect a piece of that publishing fee pie currently out there.

Epic is creating nothing special or different then every other digital store front out there. So I continue with my comment of the Epic storefront as being just another piece of software clutter out there.

Avatar image for hrv_25
hrV_25

@lion2447: best of luck with your 90's PC with 12 gigs of hdd space and shitty thoughts. There's no better alternative for voice chat than discord. You are just ignorant.

Avatar image for lion2447
lion2447

@hrv_25: Don't know why your coming off as angered, I simply stated I don't use Discord. It may very well be a great service, I just don't use it.

Also, my 90's PC didn't have a 12 GB hard drive, it was actually a 7.8GB hard drive. It ran on a Pentium 3 450Mhz processor with Windows 98SE. I paid a premium just to have a CD burner and extra floppy disk drive.

Avatar image for hrv_25
hrV_25

@lion2447: why you worried about software clutter then anyways? You can't even install windows 10 on it let alone games. If you own another PC with decent configuration and don't use discord, you are missing out. It's pretty much essential software for a gaming PC now. And lastly, most of the stores give out free games here and there so that's a good incentive for loosing few MB of hard drive space.

Avatar image for Blk_Mage_Ctype
Blk_Mage_Ctype

IMO, GoG/Galaxy is where it's at. I dunno about how much of a cut they take from developers who distribute games on their platform, but they're definitely the most pro-consumer DD platform currently on the market. No pointless intrusive DRM to get between honest gamers and the experience which hackers just scrub away anyhow, no spyware/adware, no mandatory installation of resource-draining software, just a simple transaction in which you buy the game then download/install it directly to your PC. What's more, in their effort to continuously provide gamers with unprecedented bang for their buck, even when they don't stand to make any immediate profit from it, they're now working with developers to allow folks who bought copies of games on Steam to link their Steam account to GoG to receive free copies of games in their Steam Library on GoG!

So yeah, while I think it's nice that other DD platforms are offering developers much smaller fees to distribute games in their platform and giving the stagnating shovelware platform known as Steam a much-needed run for its money, as a consumer, I gotta go with the DD platform that is putting me first, and that's GoG/Galaxy.

Avatar image for Barighm
Barighm

Meh. GoG or it didn't happen. I want to OWN my games, not be told how and when to play them.

Avatar image for Tiwill44
Tiwill44

@Barighm: It's funny, it's the opposite for me. Valve conditioned me to feel like I don't own a PC game unless I have it in my Steam library. Like, if I were to just buy a DRM-free game on GoG, I would feel like I paid for a "pirated" version of the game since it wasn't added to my Steam library.

I know, it's wrong. But it's not gonna change... I do wish other stores success though.

Avatar image for speed45823
speed45823

@Tiwill44: Same here. Its because when you buy games on Steam, it also comes to many in-game and beyond features that enhances the overall game experience. Without it, it kinda feels like pirating a game.

Avatar image for jergernice1
JergerNIce1

developers releasing only on their own platform will lose more money than using steam...sorry blizzard. not using your app.

Avatar image for Richardthe3rd
Richardthe3rd

As a bug Steam user, Valve is at a crossroads. They need to do something to make the platform more appealing if they're going to remain relevant.

Competition is good and all that jazz, but Steam should have an advantage. They should be pricing distribution at a level that makes startup services for these devs unappealing.

That discord rep is right: I dont want 15 different launchers just so I can play different stuff. Not sure what the solution is but I'm disappointed with Valve.

Avatar image for xshinobi
Xshinobi

The console platform holders and Apple must be super happy that they can still force the 70/30 split as devs have no other choice if they want to be on that platform.

Avatar image for phoenix1289
phoenix1289

@xshinobi: I mean the split is more fair for console. Sony and Microsoft tend to have a bit more involvement even with third party titles coming to their systems. As opposed to Steam who at this point has lost most of the benefits that came with the split.

Avatar image for Mraou
Mraou

@phoenix1289: Yeah, but then you have situations like Sony censoring 3rd party games, leaving developers/ PlayStation gamers with no other option but to release/buy the censored version. On PC, if Steam were to censor games, developers at least now have multiple other PC platforms or alternatives to publish their game on.

Avatar image for phoenix1289
phoenix1289

To be fair the 30% cut wasn't so bad when it actually came with benefits. Back when there was some proper curation going on and being on steam actually meant something. At this point though Steam either needs to reduce the cut they take alongside these other groups or step up and actually provide a service worthy of the cut they are taking.

Avatar image for Pedro
Pedro

This is golden.

Avatar image for vilified_signals
Vilified_Signals

This is nothing but good news. Finally some competition for Steam. Maybe now they'll finally get around to vetting their content.

Avatar image for proxima1025
Proxima1025

@vilified_signals: What do you mean by 'vetting their content'?

Avatar image for vilified_signals
Vilified_Signals

@proxima1025:

Vet; Vetting

1. make a careful and critical examination of (something).

2. investigate (someone) thoroughly, especially in order to ensure that they are suitable for a job requiring secrecy, loyalty, or trustworthiness.

Sorry. Needed it for a point.
Steam/Valve does not do this for their content. All of their stuff is very hands off. Otherwise stuff like that one game that was terrible, or that other game that was terrible, or that third game that was just a waste of time never would have been on their platform. One of the primary examples that comes to mind is that game that had you play for more than exactly 2 hours that just had nothing else after it. So they could rip you off and you wouldn't be able to get a refund.
Or the school shooting game that was done in absolute poor taste.
There's a plethora of shovelware on Steam. And Valve has not done their job in properly vetting the content or the creators. No, it takes an act of media to get Steam to remove games from their store.

So steam does not Vet their content.

Avatar image for proxima1025
Proxima1025

@vilified_signals: Being a knob doesn't endear, I just wanted the reasoning for your comment but you decided to be an ass and be condescending (adjective: having or showing an attitude of patronizing superiority. (I can do this too)) for no real reason.

Avatar image for vilified_signals
Vilified_Signals

@proxima1025:

Oh, no, that wasn't my intent. Giving you the definition was easier than trying to explain it myself lol. I tend to be far too long winded. So I wanted it to be concise. So I copy and pasted with some slight cleaning up. No offense was meant, friend.

Avatar image for proxima1025
Proxima1025

@vilified_signals: I apologise for my curt reply, it was a long a long day and I just took your reply the wrong way.

Avatar image for vilified_signals
Vilified_Signals

@proxima1025: Oh, no, it's fine. I knew it could have been taken that way lol. It's why I included the "sorry" in the first reply.

Avatar image for gamingdevil800
gamingdevil800

You still end up paying more to discord than the Epic Games store if you use the Unreal Engine, Unity or Cry Engine due to the cut they take.

Avatar image for ValedictorianXD
ValedictorianXD

@gamingdevil800:

But that is engines in general????? You're going to end up paying more across the board either way. Discord is still the cheapest in the end and they have a large enough following to take on Steam now (Steam's 200 million+ users vs Discords 150 million). Also, remember this: Discord came out 3 years ago vs Steam's 15 year age. Valve's dinosaur technology and groupthink is showing how antiquated it actually is and Discord is taking advantage of this by appealing to the developers. This is THE CHALLENGE that will make or break Steam. Either Valve will learn to change and treat developers better (since we are the lifeblood of the system) or they won't and enough developers will abandon Steam to improve their bottom line. At the end of the day, this is all about money and service...and right now, Discord has both.