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Epic Games is launching a competitor to Steam, but can it dethrone the king?

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By Gabe Gurwin

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Epic Games’ Fortnite is the biggest video game on the planet right now, but the company has its sights set on a much larger piece of the gaming industry pie. The Epic Games store is a new competitor to platforms like Steam and GOG, and it’s offering developers a much larger portion of profits.

Launching with games that make use of Epic’s Unreal Engine as well as others engines, including Unity, the Epic Games store will initially launch on PC and Mac. The games will be “hand-curated,” but in 2019 Epic plans to bring more games and “other open platforms” in 2019 — Epic Games CEO Tim Sweeney later told Game Informer that Android is coming next year.

The attractive part for developers, however, is that the Epic Games store will give them a larger share of profits than competing platforms. Developers will take 88 percent, with Epic taking the other 12, and games made with Unreal Engine will have their engine royalties waived.

Epic Games’ announcement comes just after Valve revealed a new revenue-splitting plan for Steam based on total game revenue. It favors big sellers, with developers getting 75 percent of the revenue for a game that makes more than $10 million. Once it hits $50 million, developers will get an 80 percent share, but that’s still far below what Epic is offering.

The Epic Games store will not feature any sort of store-wide digital rights management system, but developers will be able to enable their own if they chose to do so. This is different from competitor GOG, which advertises its games as being DRM-free.

Much like the Support-A-Creator program in Fortnite, YouTube creators and Twitch streamers will also be able to help grow their channels with a similar program on the Epic Games store. Those purchasing games can do so through a link set up by the creator, or they can manually enter the name of the creator when buying a game. Doing either will result in that person getting a share of the profits, which the developers can set themselves. The first 5 percent is automatically paid by Epic Games for two years.

It’s too early to know of the Epic Games store can be a serious challenger to Steam, but few companies are more prepared for such a task. In the meantime, you can play Fortnite‘s Season 7 content later this week.

‘Fortnite’ will get a little bit chillier when Season 7 blows in this week

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