Epic has made it much easier for small and individual developers to access their games on the Epic Games Store. Company self-publishing tools that exited closed beta on Thursdayallow any developer to submit their game to the Epic platform for a fee of $100 per game.
Since its launch in late 2018, with a small carefully curated selection of games, the Epic Games Store has gradually expanded to includes about 2000 titles. But these games were chosen by Epic for inclusion based on a “high standard of quality,” as Epic’s Tim Sweeney called it Ars in 2019, leading to publication from number tutorials “How to publish on the Epic Games Store”.
“We’re not going to be that kind of place [that accepts everything] because we don’t think we can help these games reach users,” Sweeney told Ars in 2019. “So everything will depend on quality.”
However, Epic has been aiming for a more open store for a while, launching self-publishing as a limited closed beta. mid 2021 and barely missed 2022 target open the system to everyone.
Everyone comes here
Today’s expansion of self-publishing is likely to see a surge in the number of new games appearing on the Epic Games Store, just as Steam’s 2017 opening of “Steam Direct” publishing led to a significant increase in the number of annual releases on that platform. It will also allow more developers to take advantage of Epic’s much-touted 12 percent share of sales revenue, as opposed to Steam’s 30 percent standard.
The Epic Games Store also allows developers to use third-party or developer-controlled payment tools for in-app purchases, allowing those publishers to “get 100 percent of the revenue” from those purchases if they choose to. This aligns with the stance Epic has taken in its longstanding battle with Apple to allow such third-party payments on iOS. Epic also wants to pay for free age rating services for EGS games through the International Coalition of Age Rankings and provide free localization of game description pages on the showcase.
But while Steam says it allows everything but illegal content and trolling on its store (at least ostensibly), Epic lays out a few basic content requirements for games that want to be listed on the EGS. The platform will ban games rated “Adults Only” and those that contain “hateful or discriminatory content, pornography, illegal content, etc.” [or] content that infringes intellectual property that you do not own or have no rights to use.”
Titles that include “fraud, scams, or deceptive practices such as fake games or malware” are also not allowed on the Epic Games Store. And EGS games must meet the minimum “quality and functionality” bar that matches any descriptions provided on the store page.
Other requirements for listing on the EGS include:
- PC Crossplay (for multiplayer games): Allowing players to connect with others “regardless of where the game was purchased”.
- Epic Games Store Achievements: These must be available “if the game has achievements on other PC stores.”
- Game Ratings: Optional in many regions (and provided “free” by Epic itself), but required if you’re distributing the game in Australia, Brazil, Russia, or South Korea.
Elsewhere, in recently published “review for 2022”, Epic said it gave away over 700 million free copies of 99 different games to more than 230 million customers last year. The free to play program will run until 2023, showing that Epic is ready to keep pouring money into the platform in an attempt to take more market share from Steam.