The Epic Games Store launched just over four years ago, building an appeal for users on high-profile exclusives and tons of freebies, and appeal for developers and publishers with a more lucrative revenue split. While it’s been growing in terms of both users and catalog, it’s still a fraction of the size of the de facto standard for PC gaming, Steam. Today Epic is leveling the playing field for one of Steam’s biggest draws, as it allows indie developers to post their own games to the store without the need for a publisher.
The setup for Epic is similar to Steam: Pay $100 to submit a game, create a landing page, input some business info, and submit your game for review. Notably, the Epic Games Store is preserving the well-publicized 88/12 revenue split for indie developers (which beats out the usual 70/30 split of Steam, the Apple App Store, the Google Play Store, and most other digital storefronts). While developers will have access to the Epic Online Services platform tools like game achievements, they aren’t limited to using Epic’s Unreal engine.
There are a few restrictions, however. Epic doesn’t have the same laissez-faire attitude towards explicitly adult games as Steam does. While “Mature” content is obviously allowed, the recent glut of straight-up porn games seen on Steam’s storefront won’t be making an appearance on Epic. No games that would be rated Adults Only by the ESRB will be accepted. Multiplayer games submitted to Epic need to allow crossplay with other game stores, which notably isn’t a requirement for Steam.
While Steam is still the primary source for indie developers to host PC games, the market has become more democratized of late, with additional options like GoG and Itch.io opening up. Steam publishes more than 1,000 new games every month at this point. Epic has a long way to go, but with that enticing revenue split and a growing audience built by free games and F2P staples like Fortnite and Rocket League, it’s in a good place to get there.