The successful series of the “Fortnite” developer Epic Games seems unstoppable. The video game, in which 100 players fight to the last man, has become the most popular video game among young people under the age of 18 within the last year, as also in Switzerland, as the annual James study recently confirmed.
Last week, Epic also announced that the game now has over 200 million registered players, an increase of over 60 percent compared to June. It is estimated that nearly 80 million players worldwide fight for survival on Fortnite every month.
Now Epic Games is taking the next shot: On Tuesday, the US company based in the state of North Carolina announced that it would be launching its own sales platform for PC games next year. The Epic Games Store will initially be released with a few selected games for PC and Mac, and will later be opened for other games and platforms.
Side blow to the competition
Epic Games CEO Tim Sweeney wrote in a statement: “As developers we want two things: a store with fair economic conditions and a direct connection to the players”. The announcement can be seen as a veiled criticism of the developer Valve’s competitor Steam, which is currently the market leader in the field.
This allows developers to retain 88 percent of their revenues on Epic’s platform. At Steam, it has only been 70 percent for years, a change only took place last Tuesday: Those who sell their games on Steam now receive 75 or 80 percent of their revenue if their games earn more than $10 million or more than $50 million, respectively.
Steam wants to win the favor of big video game manufacturers like Electronic Arts, Ubisoft or Activision, who have switched to their own platforms to keep all their revenues for themselves.
No sexist games?
However, Epic Games is not the first competitor to target Steam’s throne. The Polish studio CD project already started in 2008 with its own platform (gog.com), the voice chat provider Discord also started selling games this year. Both promise to curate their platform – another sore point at Steam.
Last June they rejected the responsibility completely: Steam shouldn’t have to decide which games are for sale, a blog post said. This is the task of the developers and the players. The decision was sharply criticized because the platform does not put a stop to sexist and right-wing extremist content in games, for example.
Despite Epic’s announcement, there is also skepticism. Tabea Iseli, a freelance game developer in Zurich, says there are still too many questions unanswered. The scene wants to wait and see. “And don’t forget that there are various stores on the mobile market, but Google and Apple have nevertheless held the monopoly for years.