Tim Sweeney has just issued Valve an ultimatum. This time saying that the Epic Games Store will stop picking up exclusives when Steam commits to an 88% revenue share with developers. That's the same percentage Epic gives when working with devs on its own digital PC store.
In a tweeted response, Epic founder and CEO Tim Sweeney says, "If Steam committed to a permanent 88% revenue share for all developers and publishers without major strings attached, Epic would hastily organize a retreat from exclusives (while honoring our partner commitments) and consider putting our own games on Steam."
Sweeney even added, "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."
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. Then stores could go back to just being nice places to buy stuff, rather than the Game Developer IRS.— Tim Sweeney (@TimSweeneyEpic) April 25, 2019
Currently Steam's revenue share is split 70/30 with Valve taking the smaller cut from the sales of games made through its platform. Meanwhile Epic has touted a more generous 88/12 revenue split and devs eager to make more returns on sales on their games have been lining up behind the Epic Games Store.
The Epic Games Store has managed to snag exclusives for Metro Exodus, The Division 2, Borderlands 3, and many more, to the chagrin of PC gamers who don't like the idea of a competing PC marketplace. Epic Games Store critics are largely frustrated by its lack of features and fear of Epic's platform as a security threat.
Valve did announce a change to its revenue share model around the time the Epic Games Store launched. Valve still takes a 30% cut from games sales, but only for those below $10 million sales. After that, Valve takes a 25% cut, and after $50 million sales Valve takes 20%. Smaller devs have complained that this arrangement only benefits triple-A games sold through Steam.
At this point it does seem unlikely that Valve will lower its revenue share pricing further, which is presumably why Sweeney felt comfortable staking Epic's exclusives on the line. Although at GDC, Epic did say that obtaining exclusives is not a model for the store designed for the long-term.