the big pic

Microsoft joins the 88/12 team

Many have described Epic Games’ crusade against unfair profit-sharing as tilting at windmills. But now it’s Tim Sweeney who’s laughing. In his efforts to create a more developer-friendly PC gaming market, he’s just gained a new, powerful ally.


- Tim Sweeney, Epic Games CEO, reacting to Microsoft’s announcement on Twitter


Microsoft announced on Thursday that it will reduce fees on PC games sold in their store. Starting August, the commission fee will be cut from 30% to 12%, with more money going to game developers.

It's a notable slash that matches Microsoft’s revenue split to that of Epic Games. Looks like by joining the "88/12 team" Microsoft wants not only to attract more PC game developers to its platform but also to pressure Valve and Apple. 



Just a day before Microsoft's announcement, the Game Developer Conference released this year's results of the State of the Industry survey. Once again, the survey showed massive disapproval of the 30% revenue share, which currently is an industry standard. 

Among digital storefronts that offer a 70/30 split is Steam, which for years has dominated PC gaming space – until Epic Games showed up, pockets full of Fortnite money, and aggressively launched their own store with a 12 percent cut. 

Microsoft clearly follows Epic's steps and symbolically joins the ongoing campaign against Steam to shake PC games distribution and encourage a more developer-friendly market.

“Having a clear, no-strings-attached revenue share means developers can bring more games to more players and find greater commercial success from doing so,” wrote Sarah Bond, the Microsoft corporate vice president in charge of game creator experience.

Slashing the fees can also be seen as an indirect move against Apple, which also sticks to a 70/30 split. This is the very reason why it's currently being targeted as anti-competitive in a court case with... Epic. Last year, the company sued Apple, claiming they violated antitrust laws by forcing developers to use their payment systems.

We've already given a lot of space to this feud here on The Big Pic, but you have to admit: this story has a lot of twists and turns, and now – also unexpected allies. 

With Microsoft adopting 88/12, the tide seems to be shifting in Epic’s favor. It’s still way, WAY too early to announce Tim Sweeney’s victory here, but what once was considered a waste of effort is slowly but surely shaping up to be a small revolution.

Your move, Valve?



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