Epic Game Store to offer developers 100% of revenue

How long before one of the new wave of alternative mobile app stores follows suit?

Epic Game Store to offer developers 100% of revenue

Epic Games has announced that developers who publish their titles exclusively on the Epic Games Store through its new First Run program will keep 100% of the net revenue from their titles for the first six months.

After this period, the deal will revert to Epic’s usual structure where developers will keep 88% of their revenue, with Epic Games taking a 12% commission.

Additionally, games published through the First Run program will be “presented to those users on-store with new exclusive badging, homepage placements, and dedicated collections.“ The games will also be featured in relevant store campaigns including sales, events, and editorials, and receive continuous exposure throughout their first run.

Epic states that the new program will help developers of any scale reach global audiences from launch. However, for peak efficiency developers should continue to promote their products to the target audience.

Shots fired… But will mobile follow suit?

While the move may seem questionable from a business perspective, it’s worth noting that alternative app stores have been gaining popularity in recent years as developers attempt to avoid the commission fee charged by Apple and Google. In fact, Epic itself is at the centre of a long-standing legal case with Apple after it attempted to circumvent this fee by offering in-game currency for a discount on its own site.

A 0% commission fee for six months may mean it takes longer for app stores to earn revenue, but in return developers are likely to invest more effort into marketing their products there, which could lead to a significant return once the period has expired.

It’s perhaps inevitable that one of the alternative app stores will eventually follow suit. This will lead to developers and publishers making a decision between sticking to proven routes to success with established audiences, or taking an exclusivity deal with an alternative app store in the hopes of greater returns.

It's literally choosing between 80% of something or - if things don't work out - 100% of nothing.

It’s also likely that alternative app stores taking this approach will be working hard to attract a particularly successful game, giving it a massive advantage over competitors. As such, it may be prudent for alternative app stores to take note of Epic’s move and move quickly in an effort to gain an advantage in the market.

Let battle commence

This could also lead to a significant shake-up of the established duopoly Google and Apple enjoy over the app store ecosystem. While more and more developers are looking elsewhere in their attempts to maintain a larger proportion of the profits, should a mobile app store decide to implement a similar 100%-of-your-profit deal, this could see them make a big splash in the world of alternative app stores.

It looks like it could all get a little wild west out there. Will money change hands up front for exclusive deals? And how long before a beloved title shifts shops to up their profits? 

In June, Meta announced the launch of its own mobile app store.

Staff Writer

Lewis Rees is a journalist, author, and escape room enthusiast based in South Wales. He got his degree in Film and Video from the University of Glamorgan. He's been a gamer all his life.