In the ongoing war for launcher dominance between Steam and Epic, there's been a lot of arguments for either, but the revenue split has been a frequent topic of discussion. As Paradox Interactive's Fredrik Wester put it at Gamelab 2019, the split for platforms like Steam-70/30-is "outrageous."
"I think the 70/30 revenue split is outrageous," says Wester. "I think the platform holders are taking too much money. Everyone in the press here, just quote me on that."
Wester, as part a of GamesIndustry.biz panel, went on to discuss how revenue splits have changed alongside the medium. The 70/30 split means that Steam takes 30% of revenue from most of the games on its platform. However, Wester argues this model is based on an outdated school of thought, from the era of physical media versus the modern digital age.
"That was physical. It cost a lot of money," says Wester. "This doesn't cost anything. So Epic has done a great job for the whole industry, because you get 88%. Fantastic move. Thank you very much."
While Paradox has moved over to the Epic store, it notably disappeared amid Epic's Mega Sale, though it seems an error more than anything else. The Epic Store has been lauded by some, like Wester, for its revenue split but also derided by strange accusations of malicious activity.
More notably, it's reintroduced exclusivity to the PC platform. While EA and Ubisoft have required use of their platforms for some time, recent rumblings over exclusivity came down hard over several games going to Epic, including Paradox's Vampire: The Masquerade - Bloodlines 2, as well as Borderlands 3 and The Outer Worlds.
When it comes to revenue split though, Wester makes a point that his fellow panelist Dan da Rocha, creator of indie game Qube, followed up on. For smaller developers, the 70/30 split can make big cuts into profit.
"In some cases, that 30% taken is more than the profit for a small studio," says da Rocha. "That's just crazy, right? So that's a huge incentive for some of us."