UPDATE: Chances are you've probably come across Steam Spy at some point. Up until the point GDPR put a spanner in the works it was the easiest method to discover sales data of games on Steam.

As it turns out, Steam Spy creator Sergey Galyonkin was actually working on Steam Spy as a side project. He's actually been employed by Epic Games for several years as the Director of Publishing Strategy for the Epic Games Store. All this time, the Steam Spy was being an actual Steam spy.

Speaking to Kotaku, Galyonkin makes it abundantly clear that the years of data that has been amassed has been very handy. Galyonkin claims it wasn't his "intention" but it's almost certainly been a boon.

Most important though is how Galyonkin has used this data, in conjunction with feedback from hundreds of developers, to inform what happens with the Epic Games Store. First and foremost, there are going to be no social media functions at all. No game discussions, forums, reviews; nothing. Of the hundreds of devs Galyonkin spoke to, he told Kotaku “not a single developer I talked to wanted forums.” Toxicity is cited as the chief reason for that.

Without reviews though, that means there's no feedback on the quality of a game. Users will have a direct ticketing system to message developers about problems but there'll be no method through which to review bomb their games.

Secondly, the Epic Games Store will allegedly be far less cluttered than Steam. What form this takes we don't know but presumably, it's going to be a more curated selection of games than what's offered on Steam, where practically anything goes.

And finally, there's what was learned from the sales data itself. Galyonkin says Epic is planning to provide developers which as much data as "legally possible". While he doesn't go into the details, this could easily be used to help identify up and coming genres, bestselling settings, popular types of microtransactions, the best length for a game, and just about anything a developer needs to know to tailor a game to a specific audience. "It will give developers way more information about their games that Steam Spy ever could,” he told Kotaku.

It's an interesting take but it remains to be seen just how users will take to a digital game store with practically zero opportunity for feedback or interaction. it sounds kinda nice on one hand yet terrible on another.

Original Story: 05-Dec-2018 - Epic Reveals Epic Games Store, Massively Undercuts Steam With 88% Revenue Share for Devs

Epic Games dropped a megaton announcement yesterday, revealing the launch of its own Epic Games Store, a new direct competitor with Steam.

This is huge for a number of reasons, not least of which is that Epic is being more aggressive, and has more capital behind it, than just about pretender to Steam’s crown. The icing on the cake is that more than 200 million gamers already have Epic accounts courtesy of the battle royale phenomenon that is Fortnite.

“As a developer ourselves, we have always wanted a platform with great economics that connects us directly with our players,” Epic Games founder and CEO Tim Sweeney said in a press statement. “Thanks to the success of Fortnite, we now have this and are ready to share it with other developers.”

As if all that wasn’t enough to get Gabe Newell sweating, Epic Games also revealed an 88/12 revenue split for games published on its service. Yesterday, Valve announced Steam would be dropping its take from 30 to 20% for games that earn more than $50m in revenue, effectively sticking a middle finger up to indie developers and smaller publishers. Epic’s take of just 12% represents a massive undercutting of Steam, but it's also now obvious why Valve did what it did, when it did.

For some context, if a game earned $1 million in sales revenue, Valve would take $300,000. Epic would take just $120,000. This means Valve is currently taking 150% more revenue from game sales than Epic plans to.

Developers also have to pay licensing fees for game engines, which is 5% of the revenue for title’s developed in Unreal Engine 4. If a developer publishes on the Epic Games Store, Epic will waive this 5% fee, saving a further $50,000 for every $1 million revenue that would otherwise be paid out to Epic if a game is sold through other storefronts. As a game developer or publisher using UE4, this makes it an absolute no-brainer to make your games available through the Epic Games Store.

In terms of Valve's current 30% cut, Epic Games believes this is far, far in excess of what is needed for a profitable business. Epic founder Tim Sweeney told Game Informer that, based on their own analysis, Valve is "marking up their costs by 300 to 400 percent"

While this by no means leaves Valve in a precarious position, it's certainly going to be a worry. A lot of bites have been taken out of Steam's market lately and we now end up in a position where the majority of the bestselling games this year aren't even available on the largest gaming platform. Call of Duty: Black Ops 4? Battle.net. FIFA 19? Origin. Fortnite? Epic Launcher. Battlefield V? Origin. Red Dead Redemption 2? Console exclusive. 

This leaves Valve with the leftovers; plenty of big games, but not the biggest. They aren't alone though. The Epic Games Store charging 12% sends out a message, not just to Valve but to Microsoft, Sony and Nintendo, who all charge deep cuts for publishing on their respective stores. As a publisher, you're going to want people to buy your games on the store where you're going to make the most money.