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Most developers think Steam’s 30% revenue cut is unjustified

A survey of over 3000 gaming industry professionals suggests that most developers don't think Steam earns its 30% revenue cut.

Steam is the largest distribution platform on PC, challenged only by Epic Games Store and GOG, but it seems that developers that sell their titles via the service don't think Valve earns its cut.

In a survey of over 3,000 game industry professionals (via GDC), only 3% of participants said that it's fair for stores such as Steam and GOG to take 30% of their revenue.

43% of responses suggest that a 10% or 15% cut is more justifiable, whilst – bafflingly – 3% reckon the platforms should take a larger cut. It's worth noting that most respondents to the survey are North American and European developers.

It seems more developers are realizing there's a viable alternative to a platform taking such a huge share: Epic Games Store's 12% cut is cited as an example in the survey article, but Google and Apple are also starting to revise the way they charge developers for selling on their storefronts, too.

Epic has always been somewhat ahead of the curve, however, and takes a lower cut across the board – the other companies are still tinkering with lower rates for the first $1 million earned, and so on. Valve, for instance, introduced a tiered revenue share system in late 2018, though it has garnered some criticism for favouring the bigger games.

But then we already know that Epic isn't scared of taking on short-term losses in order to establish itself in the marketplace. Whatever Epic is doing is working, at any rate, since the company managed to attract over 52 million players in 2020 alone.

It'll be interesting to see if the continued popularity of Epic's platform – combined with the increasing dissatisfaction with Steam's 30% cut – will force a larger change in the industry soon.

About the Author

Dom Peppiatt avatar

Dom Peppiatt

Features Editor

Dom is a veteran video games critic and consultant copywriter that has appeared in publications ranging from Daily Star to The Guardian. Passionate about games and the greater good they can achieve, you can usually find Dom listening to records, farting about in the kitchen, or playing Final Fantasy VIII (again).

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