Fortnite on Steam isn’t out of the question, according to Epic Games CEO Tim Sweeney, but it would require big changes to the way store owner Valve monetizes sales – namely a cut to what Sweeney calls “these ridiculous 30% fees.”
Epic is riding high on the heels of an antitrust win against Google, which Epic said “proves that Google‘s app store practices are illegal and they abuse their monopoly to extract exorbitant fees, stifle competition and reduce innovation.” Epic has butted heads with Valve over similar policies in the past, albeit outside of court, hence the creation of the Epic Games Store, which continues to bleed money even after several years.
In response to a Twitter user asking about how this ruling could open up the market, Sweeney said: “We’ll compete, and we’ll also put Fortnite on any serious store that gives all developers an awesome deal. Steam, Microsoft, OneStore, anyone: give all developers an awesome deal and we’ll support you. The end of these ridiculous 30% fees is near.”
As a baseline, Valve takes a 30% cut of all sales on Steam. However, a few years ago the company introduced a scaling system that gives more money to high-earning developers, with $10 million earners getting a 25% rate and $50 million earners only giving 20% to Valve. Historically, as our friends at PC Gamer reported in 2021, most game devs – the overwhelming majority of whom will never see $10 million in their lifetime – have felt Steam doesn’t earn a 30% share.
Obviously, with Fortnite being one of the biggest games on the planet, it would more than qualify for this reduced rate, but Sweeney and Epic’s stance seems to be more about the principle of the thing.
In this, Steam sits in contrast to the Epic Games Store, which has trumpeted its higher revenue share split since launch. As of this August, developers can take home 100% of the revenue from their first six months if they launch exclusively on Epic Games Store, and others will still get 88% with Epic only taking a standard 12% cut.
Earlier this year, Valve argued “we don’t think Steam should be pay to win” in a breakdown of the filters and algorithms that shape the storefront’s recommendations.