One of the most interesting and most unexpected developments in the last few months is that not one, but two alternatives to Steam have popped up and appear to be real contenders. As unexpected as two new contenders to the throne is, they are also welcome as both appear to be working hard to offer a better deal to indie developers. Meanwhile, Steam is taking action that is meant to ingratiate the service to big developers.
Those moves are allowing Discord and Epic Games to blaze a path that is going to be quite a bit better for independent devs. In fact, Discord’s latest announcement is clearly aimed at making sure indie devs are getting plenty of attention. Epic Games launched their own digital library just a few weeks ago and immediately set out to one-up Steam by offering an 88 percent to 12 percent cut for developers. Discord set out to outdo Epic at its own game and announced last week it would be offering developers who put games on their platform a 90 percent cut.
That isn’t the only thing the company announced. They also said that it will become that much easier to publish games on Discord than ever before. A self publishing feature will allow developers, no matter whether they are AAA or indie, to get on the platform quickly and easily. Discord really is looking like a nirvana of indie developers when you consider the company also says it is actively going to be looking for ways to cut it’s 10 percent cut even lower. “The remaining 10% covers our operating costs, and we’ll explore lowering it by optimizing our tech and making things more efficient,” the company said in its recent blog posting.
Killing off Steam Slowly?
While Epic Games is getting off the ground floor slowly, Discord is moving rather quickly. There is still a long way to go before it really becomes an opponent that should be feared to Steam, but it does have hundreds of titles on its platform now. This particular announcement is sure to bring quite a few more. That is of course, as long as this move is followed by another one.
Indie developers who are really looking to take advantage of this move are going to notice that with what is around a 20 percent higher cut of the proceeds, they can afford to price their games a bit lower. Imagine if a popular game like Battle Chasers: Nightwar could be offered even $5 lower at launch. That could be the thing that really sets the Discord store apart from new competitors to Steam like Epic Games and older competitors like GOG.
This doesn’t have to just be an indie developer’s nirvana either. AAA developers could see a big boost from this kind of nearly 100 percent cut for their work. Even if they can’t offer a lower launch price, it will become that much easier to offer discounts throughout the year. This announcement could start a real domino effect. It might be several months or even a few years, but Discord appears to be a real contender now. That’s not because they found some gimmick, but because they understand how well this move could work.