Steam has made some notable changes to its policy regarding revenue share with publishers. According to Valve, it will share less revenue with publishers going forward. Normally, Valve takes 30% of sales revenue from video games distributed through its platform but with exceptions to smaller game developers.
Under the new revenue agreement, the distribution platform will still be taking 30% of revenue but only for the first $10 million in sales. The percentage comes down to 25% for sales between 10$ million to 50$ million.
Anything above 50$ million dollars will bring down Steam’s share to only 20%. This change will give larger publishers who make more money on Steam encouragement to stick to Valve’s distribution platform. However, it doesn’t do anything for smaller studios who make less money from Steam.
The value of a large network like Steam has many benefits that are contributed to and shared by all the participants. Finding the right balance to reflect those contributions is a tricky but important factor in a well-functioning network. It’s always been apparent that successful games and their large audiences have a material impact on those network effects so making sure Steam recognizes and continues to be an attractive platform for those games is an important goal for all participants in the network.
In recent times we have seen some publishers leaving Steam for their own platforms. Bethesda chose not to release Fallout 76 on Steam while Call of Duty shifted to Blizzard’s client. Future games from these publishers may also do the same.
Ubisoft, on the other hand, is using both Steam and its own uPlay Store. It remains to be seen if other publishers follow in the footsteps of Activision and Bethesda. The revenue share policy will definitely tip the situation in Valve’s favor though.