Epic co-founder and CEO Tim Sweeney predicts that games will become cheaper on the Epic Games store, as developers learn to pass on the savings from their larger revenue share on to consumers.
Epic grabbed headlines when launching its store by declaring it would take only 12% of revenue from each game sale, compared to the 30% cut that Steam has long taken. Despite this, prices on the Epic store – which are entirely set by the games’ developers – have seen no real change so far. But Sweeney predicts this won’t remain the case:
“After you go through several cycles of game developers making decisions, you’re going to see lower prices as developers pass on the savings to customers, realising they can sell more copies if they have a better price,” says Sweeney, speaking with Ars Technica during the Game Developers’ Conference last week. “This sort of economic competition is really healthy for the whole industry and will lead the industry to a better place for all developers and for gamers as well.”
Epic’s strategy of tempting devs away from Steam to launch exclusively on its own store has sparked a bit of a backlash in recent weeks, though Sweeney argues it’s a necessity in order to compete against an incumbent with such a grip on the market as Steam’s. Some devs agree: Rami Ismail’s view is simply that Valve is getting “out-businessed.”
Cheaper games would be a far less objectionable advantage, though it’s by no means certain that developers will actually do as Sweeney predicts: we might see some fluctuation among indie pricing, but $60 has been established as the price point for triple-A games for ages now.
Personally, I’m a little sceptical that major publishers will drop prices that have been A Thing since before digital distribution was, but only time will tell.