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News video games 05 April 2019, 11:50

author: Vergil

Third-Party Stores Reduce Valve's Revenue

When we think of Steam sales, both developers and publishers must take Valve's 30% revenue share into account. As it turns out, though, in fact, Gabe Newell's company gets, on average, only as much as 20% of a sold game copy's price.

Since Epic Games entered the fray with its own store, a heated discussion erupted about the revenue shares collected by platform owners. In the gamedev industry, it is widely accepted that Valve gets thirty percent of the price of each game copy sold on Steam (as a reminder, Epic Games Store take 12 percent; admittedly, Gabe Newell's store policy has also changed since December 2018, although only developers and publishers of the biggest hits are offered better conditions). However, the analysis carried out by Nappael, one of the users of the ResetEr message board, shows that things look a bit different, and Gabe Newell's company is getting an average of about twenty percent of the price of a sold item.

As you can read on the Ars Technica, the reason for this state of affairs is the sale of steam keys by third-party stores, from which Valve Software does not earn a penny. However, while the company does not share accurate data on how much of the games it sells comes from third-party sales, the review system provides us with such information. It separates the opinions of players who bought the title directly on the Steam from those who got the key somewhere else.

After checking seventy of the most popular titles on Steam (excluding free-to-play games), Nappael notes that on average twenty-eight per cent of the copies sold come from third-party sources and seventy-two per cent from direct sales on Steam. Of course, these proportions vary depending on the title, and you can see for yourself by looking at the full list of analyzed games and the numbers next to each of them.

Third-Party Stores Reduce Valves Revenue - picture #1
Valve does not earn thirty percent of a game's price.

Bearing in mind that developers can generate keys to their games almost without restrictions, it is worth noting that such productions use the entire technological base of Steam - players download them from its servers, gain achievements or even make use of the Workshop, which is also associated with costs for Valve. Against this background, Epic Games' current offer does not seem to be particularly impressive, although the store is expected to grow significantly in the future, implementing new features.

  1. Steam official website
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