Epic Games to take on Steam with its own digital games store

Epic Games is on top of the world right now thanks to the phenomenal success of its game Fortnite, but the company has even bigger plans for 2019, announcing that it intends to launch a new digital games store to compete with the likes of Steam and GOG

The Epic Games Store won't just be selling games built using the company's popular Unreal Engine, with Epic indicating that even titles made in competing engines, such as Unity, will be available. 

Speaking to GamesIndustry.biz, Epic Games CEO Tim Sweeney spoke of a larger 88% revenue share for developers, compared to the recently revised 70/30 split that's offered by Valve's Steam platform. 

"In our analysis, stores charging 30% are marking up their costs by 300% to 400%," said Sweeney. "But with developers receiving 88% of revenue and Epic receiving 12%, this store will be a profitable business for us."

An infographic shared by Epic Games highlights the difference in revenue split between its upcoming store and Steam

An infographic shared by Epic Games highlights the difference in revenue split between its upcoming store and Steam

In an attempt to make its store a more attractive proposition for developers and content creators, Epic will also implement a 'Support-A-Creator program' that aims to bring influencers and marketers together. 

"Previously, most creators were not compensated by game developers for their work and instead had to rely on donations," explained Sweeney. "By matchmaking creators with developers, the Epic Games Store makes it easier for players to discover games, and rewards content creators for their efforts."

Speaking to MCV, Sweeney said, “We believe that creators, both games developers and content creators, are responsible for the game industry’s enormous growth and vibrance, and should earn the lion’s share of industry revenue."

As for what the Epic Games Store will do to lure over consumers, the Fortnite-creator says it will offer a free game every two weeks throughout the entirety of 2019, and that Epic itself will be funding these fortnight-long free periods.

No time for talk

Unlike Steam, the Epic Games Store will not host any kind of community forums, instead opting to reach customers through a news feed. However, there are plans for a community reviews feature to be implemented in the future.

"We intend to add tools for players to communicate with developers privately, such as a ticketing system for bug reports and questions, to mitigate toxicity resulting from reviews being the only native communication mechanism," Sweeney told GamesIndustry.biz

“Users have generally migrated to Reddit, Discord, Twitter, Facebook groups, and other social media,” said Sweeney, further stating that, "Developers are free to run their own forums and social media and link to them from their Epic Games Store pages.”

As for when the Epic Games Store will be open to the public, full details are expected to be announced at the Game Awards this Thursday.

Stephen Lambrechts
Senior Journalist, Phones and Entertainment

Stephen primarily covers phones and entertainment for TechRadar's Australian team, and has written professionally across the categories of tech, film, television and gaming in both print and online for over a decade. He's obsessed with smartphones, televisions, consoles and gaming PCs, and has a deep-seated desire to consume all forms of media at the highest quality possible. 

He's also likely to talk a person’s ear off at the mere mention of Android, cats, retro sneaker releases, travelling and physical media, such as vinyl and boutique Blu-ray releases. Right now, he's most excited about QD-OLED technology, The Batman and Hellblade 2: Senua's Saga.