Recently Fortnite publisher Epic made a splash in the world of PC gaming by introducing its own game store, with a competitive 88% share of profits going to developers. Now Discord is going one better with an even more generous split.
Discord is best known as a game-focused chat and VOIP app, but the company has been selling indie games on its own digital storefront for a few months as well. The company announced today on its blog that, beginning next year, the store will give a full 90% of the price of games directly to developers. That beats Steam’s 70/30 split by a huge margin and steals the thunder from Epic, which has been wooing independent and mid-sized developers to its newer store at a steady pace.
Discord was forthright in its announcement, saying that it needs only 10% of a game’s price to cover operating costs…an implicit condemnation of Steam’s more profitable pricing model.
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.
With hundreds of millions of gamers already using Discord’s communication tools instead of many PC games’ built-in chat systems and growing use in more general communications applications, the company is well set up to gain a huge audience right away. That’s the same approach Epic is taking: Fortnite is its Trojan horse, allowing it to add a game store to software that’s already on a huge amount of gamer desktops.
2019 is shaping up to be a knock-down, drag-out price war to woo publishers and developers to the most lucrative storefront. Steam is still in the lead by an order of magnitude, but they’ll need to offer more money or see some of their biggest clients wander to friendlier alternatives.