Microsoft has decided to make a big change with regard to revenue splits to further its "player-first" gaming philosophy. It says that something that will help it be successful in its plans is helping games developers be successful on its platforms (i.e. Xbox and PC). Thus, from 1st August this year, it will reduce its Microsoft Store PC revenue split from 30/70 to 12/88.
Microsoft's impending change will mean that it matches the Epic Games Store in its developer income friendliness. Epic Games founder and CEO Tim Sweeney, was surprised by Microsoft's move, but you get the feeling he welcomes it. That leaves Steam as a major outlier, taking a 30 per cent cut of revenue from games sold on Steam, which reduces on a sliding scale to 25 per cent when sales hit $10 million, and then 20 per cent after $50 million.
"As part of our commitment to empower every PC game creator to achieve more, starting on August 1 the developer share of Microsoft Store PC games sales net revenue will increase to 88 per cent, from 70 per cent," explained Matt Booty, Head of Xbox Game Studios. "A clear, no-strings-attached revenue share means developers can bring more games to more players and find greater commercial success from doing so."
A recent survey by the GDC organisers revealed that the typical 70/30 revenue split offered by digital storefronts was widely disliked. Only three per cent of respondents thought this split was fair. Above we have mentioned the PC games stores, but developer pressure has also seen tech titans like Apple and Google flinch. Both Google Play and Apple Store will soon reduce their cut to 15 per cent for developers that sell under $1 million in a year. However, when/if this milestone is passed Apple will impose a claw-back on the deduction to make it up to 30 per cent.