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Epic Will Ditch Exclusives if Steam Commits to 18% Cut

A scenario in which Valve would commit to an 88% share for game developers “without major strings attached” would result in the Epic Games Store halting its pursuit of exclusive offerings, according to a series of tweets from Epic Games’ CEO and founder Tim Sweeney.

“If Steam committed to a permanent 88% revenue share for all developers and publishers without major strings attached,” Sweeney wrote on Wednesday. “Epic would hastily organize a retreat from exclusives (while honoring our partner commitments) and consider putting our own games on Steam.”

Earlier this month, Sweeney stated that Epic Games will keep pursuing exclusivity deals, regardless of developers’ previous agreements to offer up titles on Steam. This was a turnaround from Epic Games’ Steve Allison stating two weeks prior that “At some point we could go to zero exclusives or very, very few. We definitely won’t be doing it at the scale we’re doing it now.”

Sweeney’s statements this week seem in line with what Allison said at the Game Developers Conference last month, as Allison stated that the exclusives pursuit would die down as other storefronts started to match Epic Games’ 12% revenue cut.

Sweeney, a Variety 500 recipient, shared thoughts on Twitter on Monday on why the Epic Games Store takes a 12% cut of profits of the games offered up on its digital storefront. The remaining 88% of revenue goes directly to the developers.

“We chose [12%] to provide a super-competitive deal for partners while building an enduring and profitable store business for Epic,” Sweeney wrote. He continued on to describe why the Epic Games Store’s cut is more reasonable than the 30% which is what Steam takes from games.

Replies from users questioned if the Epic Games Store’s exclusivity of certain titles is really in the name of offering competition to Steam and choice for consumers, considering that multiple titles are solely available on the Epic Games Store. For example, “Metro Exodus” for PC is only available on the Epic Games Store, unless Steam users previously pre-ordered the title ahead of the announcement— a decision which resulted in backlash.

A reply from user Georgi Delchev asked if Sweeney would stop pursuing exclusives if Valve would reduce its revenue share to 12% or lower. Sweeney responded with a question of if this hypothetical scenario means that Steam were to make this lower revenue cut “permanently and without major strings attached” before stating that Epic Games would make a retreat from pursuing exclusive offerings. He further wrote about what such a shift would mean for PC gaming consumers.

“Such a move would be a glorious moment in the history of PC gaming, and would have a sweeping impact on other platforms for generations to come,” Sweeney wrote. “Then stores could go back to just being nice places to buy stuff, rather than the Game Developer IRS.”

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