Steam changes their revenue policy to attract and keep big studios. On November 30th, Steam changed their revenue policy which seems to be an attempt from them to keep bigger studios on their storefront, as well as to possibly attract other big studios. The changes are simple enough to understand; the more content that is sold the less of a percentage Steam takes. This is good news for larger studios that produce AAA titles and other studios that have a solid fan base but for the little studios they’re probably going to be stuck paying Steam’s usual 30% take.

The changes break down like this:
  • If the game hits the $10 million mark and beyond, Steam knocks down their percentage to 25%
  • If the game hits $50 million and beyond, Steam’s percentage goes down to 20%

These changes are retroactive starting from October 1st, 2018 and include revenue from game packages, DLC, in-game sales, and Community Marketplace game fees . The bigger companies who can produce these kinds of sales volume and content will undoubtedly stay with Steam, while other studios who have never used Steam may consider using Steam as a distribution method thanks to the changes in the policy.

With Bethesda using their launcher for Fallout 76 and Activision’s Call of Duty migrating to Blizzard’s launcher, Steam might have seen a trend developing and needed to change things up in order to stay competitive and not have other developers start making and using their own launchers instead of using Steam. With Epic just announcing they are also launching their own service, the Epic Games Store, where there is an 88/12 split for devs, it might give Steam a run for their money and possibly cause more revamping of their revenue policy in the future.

The only ones who seems to not get any true benefit here are the small studios. Steam doesn’t seem to completely leave them out and had this to add “We’re spending a bunch of time and energy adding some new developer tools and features for self-marketing\promotion, improved navigation data, as well as more insight into metrics on impressions and activity for your games on Steam. We’re also continuing the effort to improve and expand access to markets all over the world with new currencies, server\bandwidth infrastructure and payment methods. More to come on that in the future.”

Steam is also making changes to their data sharing agreement that might help smaller studios get more vital information and stay more competitive. It’s too soon to tell if the new tools, self-marketing/promotion and other features will help out the smaller studios.

Lets just hope that Steam putting forth the time and energy to these features are enough to keep the small studios viable and relevant. Valve’s Steam has always been a reliable distribution platform for smaller studios to put their content out into the market with. It would be a shame to see them trickle away because Steam seems to be focusing more on the big dogs. For now however, that seems unlikely given the popularity of Steam and how many consumers small studios can reach by using Steam.