Guide for an indie developer:How to get money from your Steam game
Steam – a number one platform for releasing indie games for PC (so far)
Steam is the leader of digital PC game markets. All other platforms are currently far behind. The only potential competitor in the coming years might be the Epic Games Store, which plans to launch a beta feature for publishing games by the end of 2021. Currently (October 2021), it is only possible to release a game on the Epic Games Store by agreeing with store managers. I know projects that have been waiting for more than a year for the Epic Games Store to let them appear on the platform, meaning games that do not have a solid marketing budget will struggle to get on this platform in the near future.
In addition to the complexity of releasing games on the Epic Games Store, the platform’s active audience and the number of purchases is far below Steam’s. Whereas Epic Games Store claims to have 160 million user accounts, while most of the users created an account to get free games, Steam, on the other hand, has 120 million monthly active users (real potential buyers) and over 1 billion user accounts.
Thanks to the documents that became available after legal proceedings between Apple and Epic it was revealed that only 7% of users make purchases on the Epic Games Store.
The contract between Epic Games Store and Ubisoft about the exclusivity of Far Cry 6 and other PC releases will increase the number of paying users, however, it will be achieved by artificially simulating sales due to this agreement.
Steam has been the first, of its kind, for almost 20 years, constantly increasing active player audience on the platform. In part, this is accomplished by expanding the social features of the platform. Whereas Epic Games Store does not let players be socially active on the platform. The situation is even more absurd – players from the Epic Games Store create discussion threads in game communities on Steam without being able to discuss the game in the place they bought it.
Within the next couple of years, Steam will remain the only major game marketplace for indie developers that can provide all the necessary infrastructure and stable organic sales.
But, the dedication of Epic that does not fear to lose hundreds of millions of dollars a year, providing players with tons of quality content and with a 12% fee for developers instead of 30% on Steam, by 2024-2025, it is possible for Epic Games Store to become a second great platform to distribute games. Hopefully, Epic will listen to audience feedback and start adding social features to the store, allowing it to retain the audience within the platform.