The digital gaming storefront arms race is hotting up. Earlier today, the developers of VOIP app Discord announced that they are changing their storefront to offer a 90% revenue share to the developer, taking only 10% for themselves, as well as allowing developers of any size the opportunity to self-publish via the storefront.
It’s a very clear swipe at Valve in particular – Discord’s announcement states simply that “it does not cost 30% to distribute games in 2018,” referencing the cut that the company currently takes from every single game sold on its Steam platform. But it also undercuts Fortnite developer Epic, which recently announced its own Epic Games Store offering an 88/12% split.
The announcement, made via a Discord blog post, states that “starting in 2019, we are going to extend access to the Discord store and our extremely efficient game patcher by releasing a self-serve game publishing platform.” That means that publisher from triple-A companies to single-person indies, will be able to claim their 90% share on the store-front.
It also suggests that Discord is already moving away from the curation model that it launched with. Many of the games it launched with – including its seven exclusive titles – were hand-picked by Discord staff, but this statement implies that the store will be opening up.
Discord already has a significant pull in the fact that it’s now being used by more than 200 million people. That figure rivals Fortnite, a significant driving force behind the launch of the Epic Games Store, but it’s worth noting that the battle royale’s player-base is split over multiple platforms. By contrast, Discord’s audience is primarily PC-based, and there’s little benefit attached to having multiple accounts.
Valve recently attempted to address their revenue split by announcing that its most profitable titles would take home a greater share of the money they make. That decision quickly backfired, however, as indie developers made their dissatisfaction clear, and several mid-sized developers have already delayed or even cancelled their Steam releases in favour of new platforms. Super Meat Boy Forever will be exclusive to Epic for an entire year, while Goat Simulator dev Coffee Stain Studios has cancelled the Steam release of factory builder Satisfactory.