The Epic Games store only went live last week during The Game Awards, but there already are signs that it could be the first true threat to Steam. In the short time that it’s been available, multiple studios have announced that their upcoming games will either be timed exclusives on the Epic store or forgo a Steam release completely — a very uncommon occurrence for indies.
Ashen, the new action game from A44, became the first to skip Steam at launch. The Dark Souls-inspired game was surprisingly launched on Xbox One and PC during The Game Awards, but only on the Epic Games Store for PC users. A Steam page for Ashen exists, but it’s still unclear when it will arrive. Supergiant Games’ Hades, which is currently in early access, also has Epic exclusivity at the moment.
According to a report by PC Gamer, other studios have joined A44. Coffee Stain Studios, the indie behind upcoming factory builder simulation game Satisfactory, took its Steam page down, and the developer uploaded a video to YouTube stating that the sim will be an Epic Games store exclusive.
Double Damage, the studio responsible for space combat game Rebel Galaxy Outlaw, will release its game as a one-year exclusive for Epic, noting that the difference in revenue-sharing models between the two stores impacted the decision. Another space sim, Genesis Alpha One, won’t come to Steam on January 29, 2019. as originally expected. Team17 posted an update on Steam to explain the decision, but it does sound like Genesis Alpha One will come to Steam eventually.
Given the substantial difference in revenue sharing between the two platforms, it shouldn’t come as much of a surprise that indie studios are starting to flock to the Epic Games store. Epic only takes a 12 percent cut on each sale, whereas Steam typically takes 30 percent. It is possible to reduce that rate on Steam, but only if a game does very well (more than $10 million in sales). Even if a game brings in $50 million on Steam, its corporate parent, Valve, still takes a 20 percent cut.
It also probably helps ease the minds of indie studios to know that Epic Games has the means to create a popular game store. Epic just so happens to be the studio behind a little game called Fortnite that you may have heard of.
The Epic Games Store is in its infancy, but it sure is off to a great start and appears to be building momentum.
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