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Developers don't think Valve's 30 per cent rev share is justified, but Steam is still the most popular PC storefront

Developers don't think Valve's 30 per cent rev share is justified, but Steam is still the most popular PC storefront

New research from GDC shows that only six per cent of respondents to its annual survey think that Valve does enough to justify its stake.

17 per cent of the 4,000 respondents said that they maybe thought that the 30 per cent cut on Steam was justified, 32 per cent saying that this revenue share deal was not justfied.

“Take less revenue from sales and curate their store better for visibility for real games,” said one developer in the survey.

Another added: “Better support for amateur, hobbyist, and independent creators. More fostering of things like game jams and actual development communities to be created on the platform.”

Steam's 70/30 revenue share came under scrutiny last year after Epic Games announced a store with an 88/12 split. Discord has since revealed a 90/10 deal.

During our store discussion at PC Connects London 2019, our panelists made the point that where before Steam was a great way of getting your game noticed, with so many projects coming to the platform developers are spending their marketing dollars outside of Valve's store to get attention. As a result, they questioned whether the company could justify its share.

Despite this data, developers still reckon that Steam is the best platform for selling games on PC.

Valve's store was the most popular choice, with 47 per cent of respondents choosing Steam. 54 per cent said that this marketplace accounts for between 75 and 100 per cent of their total sales revenue, with another 17 per cent saying it was responsible for 50 and 74 per cent of revenue.

Other stores, such as GOG, Humble and Discord, were never responsible for more than 10 per cent revenue for most respondents.

Meanwhile, 52 per cent of developers said that Itch.io generated less than 10 per cent of revenue, but oddly 28 per cent said it accounted for 75-to-100 per cent of sales revenue. This is likely driven by the fact that some smaller developers sell exclusively on this platform due to its popularity as an indie outlet.

No doubt these stats will be wildly different this time next year. 

Away from the drama of selling games on PC, 47 per cent of developers say unionisation is a good idea. A further 26 per cent said this should maybe happen, while another 16 per cent said it wasn't needed. The remaining 11 per cent said they didn't know.

Pressed if unionisation will actually happen, just 21 per cent said yes with 39 per cent saying maybe.


Editor - PC Games Insider

Alex Calvin launched PCGamesInsider.biz in August 2017 and has been its editor since. Prior to this, he was deputy editor at UK based games trade paper MCV and content editor for marketing and events for London Games Festival 2017. His work has also appeared in Eurogamer, The Observer, Kotaku UK, Esquire UK and Develop.

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Devils advocate, Steam is still the most popular because the applications for non-early-access games for both Discord and Epic have not yet released. It would be cool to see a follow-up about this Q4 this year! Applications will release ~Q2, from what I hear.

I personally believe Steam will still be #1 to start, but it would be interesting to see how things go -- it all depends on Steam's next chess move, or if no move at all.