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Steam gives successful developers a larger cut of game revenue

Valve wants to make its platform more 'attractive' for big publishers.
Jon Fingas, @jonfingas
December 1, 2018
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Jon Fingas/Engadget

Valve wants to make Steam more alluring for large developers, and it's willing to give up a slice of the pie to make that happen. The company has revised Steam's Distribution Agreement to give its most successful publishers a larger cut of their revenue from games, add-ons and in-app purchases. Any game that has earned over $10 million on Steam since October 1st, 2018 will provide developers a 75 percent cut of future revenue rather than the usual 70 percent. If they make at least $50 million, they'll take home 80 percent on any subsequent earnings. A blockbuster hit could easily generate significantly more cash.

Valve has also loosened its control over sales data. Creators now have explicit permission to share their sales info with others "as they see fit," whether it's with other companies or the public. While there have certainly been other ways to find out whether or not a game is a hit, this could eliminate some of the guesswork.

The new agreement also includes some basic GDPR compliance info and has required some basic safety warranties for VR games. Studios have to ensure that a VR title won't cause physical harm, and that they won't override SteamVR safety features like Chaperone (which keeps you aware of the real-world play space boundaries).

The revenue changes won't please indie game makers for whom the usual 70 percent revenue isn't always enough. However, it might increase the chances that publishers and developers will stick with Steam instead of launching their own services and cutting Valve out of the loop.

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