Epic CEO Tim Sweeney says he’s open to Fortnite on Steam or ‘any serious store’, but that ‘the end of these ridiculous 30% fees’ is a requirement

Fortnite (a game which by all accounts probably doesn’t need the help) could come to Steam, but on one condition: the platform does away with its 30% cut.

As spotted by Gamesradar, Epic CEO Tim Sweeney laid out the conditions for bringing Fortnite to the platform in a response to a Tweet, writing: “We’ll compete, and we’ll also put Fortnite on any serious store that gives all developers an awesome deal … the end of these ridiculous 30% fees is near.” Steam takes a 30% cut, so it’s a pretty obvious shot across the aisle.

(Image credit: @TimSweeneyEpic on Twitter/X.)

While it’s a little funny that Sweeney is implying Steam isn’t a “serious store” here, it should be noted that he isn’t technically wrong. 30% is a high price for the privilege. Back in 2021, a state of the industry survey at GDC found that only 7% of respondents thought a 30% cut was justified. 

However if Fortnite came to Steam, it likely wouldn’t be shelling out 30% of its profits for the privilege. If you’re a big earner, Valve will only take 25% (past the $10 million mark) or 20% (past the $50 million mark). That’s something Valve’s been criticised for in the past—but given its current hold on the market, the resentment hasn’t really done much.

Epic Games has plenty of problems that keep it from achieving Steam’s massive popularity, but it does have the high ground in this particular debate. Epic’s baseline cut is 12%, and there are programs in place that allow devs six months of 100% profit as long as they commit to Epic Games Store exclusivity. Cynically, this may be more down to the fact that Epic Games is less popular (and needs to convince devs to use it). However, from a sheer numbers perspective it’s generous by comparison.

This also isn’t the first time Sweeney’s come down on Valve. Back in March, he said Steam had caused a “real problem for the industry” in how it set up its multiplayer games. “They have a classic lock-in strategy where they build these services that only work with their store, and they use the fact that they have the majority market share in order to encourage everybody to ship games that have a broken experience in other stores.”

On the other hand, Valve promotes games in ways that are (typically) handy for the consumer. In October, it was revealed that the store doesn’t sell ad space at all—instead, the storefront uses either algorithmic methods or hand-curated full page takeovers and spotlights, which are selected based on how well the game’s doing.

This can even be good for devs sometimes, skimming-off-the-top aside. Dave the Diver had a meteoric rise to popularity despite having a humble team, hitting the storefront like a torpedo. Other times, Steam’s methods force even veteran studios to try and flip negative Steam reviews with embarrassing copy-and-paste comments, something that’s become an industry standard for smaller studios too, as Steam grows ever more dominant.

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