During Gamelab 2019 at a panel hosted by GamesIndustry.biz, Paradox Interactive's former CEO Fredrik Wester (now the Executive Chairman of the Board at Paradox Interactive) talked about the cut "platform holders" take from sales and they're not impressed.
The one this always comes back to is Valve's store Steam, which has a standard 30% cut they take from developers. Although, they did tweak this for higher earning games in December last year so for games that earn $10 million it's reduced to 25% and 20% at $50 million and that does include money from DLC, in-game transactions, Steam market fees and so on.
Wester said "I think the 70/30 revenue split is outrageous", noting that it was likely established in the '70s by Warner Bros when distributing physical media like boxed VHS tapes and so on saying "That was physical. It cost a lot of money". Wester went on to say "This doesn't cost anything." and thanked Epic Games for what they're doing with their much smaller 12% cut.
Claiming it "doesn't cost anything" isn't quite right though, considering all the services Steam actually provides including things like Cloud Saving, Achievements, Leaderboards, Valve Anti-Cheat (VAC), Inventory Services and quite a bit more. Valve also provide free keys to developers to sell on other stores like itch.io, Humble Store, Fanatical and many others (there's a huge amount of Steam key stores out there) of which Valve don't see a penny from. That's on top of various open source projects Valve fund too like DXVK, improving KWin and a ton more those are just two very recent examples.
Wester isn't the only one who has mentioned this of course, former Valve staffer Richard Geldreich said on Twitter back in April:
Steam was killing PC gaming. It was a 30% tax on an entire industry. It was unsustainable. You have no idea how profitable Steam was for Valve. It was a virtual printing press. It distorted the entire company. Epic is fixing this for all gamers.
The State of the Industry Survey done by GDC also noted how only 6% of developers asked thought Valve's 30% cut was justified.
What are your thoughts?
Hat tip to Mr. Doomguy in Discord.