Microsoft is reducing the cut in sales for games sold on PCs through its Microsoft Store from 30 to 12 percent, marking a new front in its tough battle against competing game distribution platforms such as Steam and the Epic Games Store.
“With a clear, no-obligation revenue share, developers can deliver more games to more players and thereby achieve greater commercial success,” said Sarah Bond, head of Game Creator Experience and Ecosystem at Microsoft wrote in an announcement post. “All to reduce friction, increase financial opportunities, and enable game developers to do what they love: making games.”
The new tariff, which goes into effect on August 1st, appears to be specific to games and not general entertainment and utility apps, which are also sold the Microsoft Store platformbased on the language in the announcement. The change also doesn’t apply to game development across the Xbox console ecosystem, where Microsoft will continue to save 30 percent (as well as other major console manufacturers).
With consoles, of course, Microsoft is relying on that 30 percent cut to make up for this Hardware sales losses. And on Xbox, Microsoft is in the enviable position of being in full control of the only one legit Method of distributing downloadable games to customers (a situation similar to the causes legal problems for Apple and its iOS app store).
On the PC, however, Microsoft’s downloadable game store faces stiff competition several in a Competition Platforms-as well as The old practice of gamers only downloading exe files. While there are a few well-known titles currently available in the Microsoft Store, the platform offers a selection of games Currently, it is dominated by many lowest common denominator shovels.
Microsoft will participate in sales over two years later The Epic Game Store has started on the PC with its own 12 percent cut in sales and could put additional pressure on Steam to lower its standard 30 percent cut (though that number comes a little for bestsellers and does not apply to Steam codes sold through third party vendors). On the other hand, Epic has only prevailed up to a share of around 15 percent in the PC gaming market (as appreciated by Tim Sweeney, CEO of Epic, last June) by Throwing huge sums of money at developers for timed exclusive and free game giveaways.
So far, Microsoft has shown no interest in making similarly aggressive games for exclusives in the Microsoft Store. Even many of Microsoft’s own Windows games that seem ideal candidates for opportunities to get gamers interested in the Microsoft Store platform, are also offered on Steam these daysapparently as a practical necessity.
Yes, a more generous revenue sharing agreement may convince some developers (and gamers) to try distribution on the Microsoft Store. But if the vast majority of potential gamers stay on Steam – where their friends, achievements, existing game libraries, etc. are already well established – a bigger slice of a smaller market could still be a loss for these developers.
The Microsoft Store initially stumbled upon game developers a little, as all apps had to be developed on the platform first the more restrictive Universal Windows Platform standard, Which still has a fair share of topics. At the time Microsoft Standard Win32 desktop apps have been allowed in the store since the end of 2016Most of the damage had been done to some skeptical members of the gaming community.
“The risk is that if Microsoft convinces everyone to use UWP, Microsoft will phase out Win32 apps,” said Tim Sweeney of Epic said in 2016. “If this succeeds, it will be a small step to distribute all apps and games through the Windows Store.”
Microsoft’s move to improve its PC game revenue-sharing arrangements shows that the company knows the need to do so something to improve the reputation of the Microsoft Store among gamers and developers. But that step alone may not be enough to oust the entrenched gamers in the PC gaming arena.