Game devs unhappy with 30% revenue cut, says industry survey


Game devs are unhappy with Steam’s 30% revenue cut. According to a survey by the Game Developers’ Conference, game devs believe they deserve more.

In a survey done by GDC among game devs, organizers asked the question “What do you think is a justifiable amount of your game’s revenue for Steam to take?”. Only 7% said they agree with the 30% revenue cut from Steam.

30% was industry standard for platform revenue cuts

The 30% cut done by Steam was always a point of contention across the industry. For the longest time, it was what is called “industry standard,” which meant everyone accepted the cut. Many players also accepted this for many reasons.

For starters, Steam offers a rich community that is ripe for the picking for any dev with a good game. The platform is unlike anything of its time back when it launched and pioneered digital storefronts.

Other digital storefronts followed suit, including Google, Apple, and many more. While many others offered a lower cut, the Epic Games Store was the most disruptive. Their rivaling storefront offered a 12% cut, which had game devs thinking.

In the survey, 43% of the game devs said only between 10 to 15% is a justified cut. The surveyed demographic includes more 3000 game industry pros, mostly from North America and Europe.

Other platforms changing their revenue cuts

The 30% revenue cut by Steam is starting to change. Even if Valve’s platform is still the place to go for devs, they are looking for better splits than the traditional 70/30 differential. Things are changing for everyone.

Valve is now adding subsequently higher revenue splits for game devs. The issue is that this only applies to their devs who can generate more than $10 million in revenue. Other platforms are also doing their part to follow suit.

The Apple Store took a reverse approach against Valve. Apple is providing higher revenue to smaller devs who earn less than $1 million. This allows them to still keep a good cut while making up to 97% of their devs happy.

As for Google, they are lowering their revenue split from 30% to 15%, effective July 1. This puts Google almost on par with the Epic Games Store. It is unknown if Valve will still lower their revenue cuts, but doing so will be helpful for both the devs and the storefront.

The 30% revenue cut is still industry standard, but it seems the tide’s turning for devs. Whether this starts rolling for the better is yet to be seen.

Featured image courtesy of Valve/YouTube Screenshot

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