Epic Games Store Opens Doors to All Developers, Ushering in a Wave of New Titles
Self-Publishing Tools Unleashed
In a bold move that’s set to reshape the gaming landscape, Epic Games, the brains behind the wildly popular Fortnite, has thrown open the doors to self-publishing on its Epic Games Store. This seismic shift marks a departure from the platform’s previous approach of handpicking titles for its curated catalog. Now, any developer, regardless of size or experience, can submit their game to the Epic Games Store for a nominal fee of $100 per game.
A Broader Horizon for Game Developers
Since its launch in late 2018, the Epic Games Store has steadily amassed a collection of close to 2,000 titles. However, these games were carefully selected by Epic, adhering to stringent quality standards. While this approach ensured a high level of quality, it also limited opportunities for many aspiring developers.
The introduction of self-publishing tools opens the floodgates for a diverse array of games to enter the Epic Games Store. This move echoes Steam’s “Steam Direct” publishing initiative in 2017, which resulted in a surge in annual releases on the platform.
Epic’s Competitive Edge: Lower Fees and Developer Autonomy
Epic’s embrace of self-publishing is not purely altruistic. The company is undoubtedly aware of the competitive advantage it holds over its primary rival, Steam. Epic’s 12% cut of sales revenues stands in stark contrast to Steam’s standard 30%. This substantial difference in fees is a major incentive for developers to consider the Epic Games Store as their publishing platform.
Furthermore, Epic’s policy regarding third-party or developer-controlled payment tools for in-app purchases is a game-changer. Developers can retain 100% of the revenue from these purchases, a move that aligns with Epic’s stance in its ongoing legal battle with Apple over allowing such third-party payments on iOS.
Quality Control and Content Guidelines
While Epic is welcoming all developers with open arms, it has not abandoned its commitment to quality. The company has established a set of basic content requirements that games must meet to be listed on the Epic Games Store. These requirements include barring games with Adults Only ratings, those containing hateful or discriminatory content, pornography, illegal content, or content that infringes on intellectual property rights.
Additionally, games must avoid “scams, frauds, or deceptive practices,” such as fake games or malware. Epic also mandates that EGS games meet a minimum standard of “quality and functionality” that aligns with the descriptions provided on the store page.
Additional Requirements for EGS Listings
Beyond the content guidelines, Epic has outlined several other requirements for games seeking a place on the EGS:
- PC Crossplay: Multiplayer games must allow players to connect with others “regardless of where the game was purchased.”
- Epic Games Store Achievements: These must be available “if the game has achievements on other PC stores.”
- Game Ratings: While optional in many regions, game ratings are provided “at no cost to you” by Epic itself. However, they are required for distribution in Australia, Brazil, Russia, or South Korea.
Epic’s Continued Commitment to Free Games and Market Share Growth
In a recently published “year in review” for 2022, Epic revealed its impressive generosity in giving away over 700 million free copies of 99 distinct games to more than 230 million total customers. This giveaway program will continue throughout 2023, demonstrating Epic’s willingness to invest heavily in its platform to capture a larger share of the gaming market from Steam.
Conclusion: A New Era of Gaming Diversity and Accessibility
Epic’s decision to embrace self-publishing is a monumental step that will reshape the gaming landscape. It opens up a world of opportunities for small and individual developers, allowing them to bring their creative visions to a wider audience. The potential for a surge in new titles, coupled with Epic’s competitive fees and developer-friendly policies, is poised to challenge Steam’s dominance in the PC gaming market. Whether this move will succeed in dethroning Steam remains to be seen, but one thing is certain: Epic’s self-publishing initiative is a resounding victory for game developers and gamers alike, ushering in a new era of diversity, accessibility, and innovation in the gaming industry.