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Valve have adjusted their revenue share for bigger titles on Steam

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Aiming their sights at bigger developers, Valve have adjusted how much of a cut they will take for bigger titles.

Once a game makes $10 million on Steam, the new revenue split will be 75% for developers and 25% for Valve. If developers manage to hit $50 million, they will get to keep an even bigger share at 80% for them and 20% for Valve. When talking about revenue, this encompasses everything like DLC, in-game transactions and so on.

It's a smart move, one I expected Valve to do at some point given how bigger studios and publishers have been leaving Steam for their own launchers. On top of that, I was sent a screenshot of Epic Game's new beta of their launcher and it looks a lot more like a store itself now too. Considering Epic's launcher is the only place on Windows to get Fortnite, they could have a pretty huge pull and I'm sure that and more has worried Valve to make a move like this.

This doesn't directly help smaller developers though, since their share will remain the same which is apparently 70% for the developer and 30% for Steam. The argument there though, is the network effect of keeping larger titles on Steam and attracting more might help smaller developers find more users too.

The other change is a good one for developers. Before, developers were quite scared to share detailed sales data from how their games sold on Steam. Valve seem to understand that developers want to share this information, so they're now allowing it. The important bit from that:

We've heard you, and we're updating the confidentiality provisions to make it clear that the partner can share sales data about their game as they see fit. 

That's really nice to see, I always felt like any attempt to hide sales data would be Valve covering up issues developers might be facing on Steam. Pleased to see that be opened up too. So now, if any developer wants to share how their games sold on Linux, reaching out to us shouldn't be an issue at all.

You can see the full post on Steam here.

You could argue for other stores like itch.io, which allow you to set the share you wish to give back which is rather nice. However, itch has a dramatically smaller user base and so sales are likely to be lower anyway. The same story for likely any other store that takes a lower cut.

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69 comments
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Eike 3 December 2018 at 9:00 am UTC
kuhpunkt
DuncThat's why abandoning game development to concentrate on Steam was a mistake.

That's about the past, not about "will never make a REAL game again".

DuncClearly their eyes have been off the ball. They've let a lot of developers, especially on the creative side, go over recent years. It's one of the reasons many fans have lost hope of ever seeing HL3 or Portal 3.

That's about the past, not about "will never make a REAL game again". And developers did leave Valve, and many fans did give up hope.

ageresThey made no games since 2011 (I mean REAL games). If they wanted to make one, they would have released it already.

That's about the past, not about "will never make a REAL game again".

ageresHL2 and CS: Source aren't nothing. CSGO, Dota 2 and Artifact are.

That's not even about Valve giving up development.

ageresDo you have better guesses what Valve spent their billions on? I don't. Definitely not on game development.

That's about the past, not about "will never make a REAL game again". And would you think they spent their (literally) billions on game development?

ageresValve don't care about what gamers want anymore, just $$$. I appreciate what Gaben is doing for Linux, but let's get real: Valve is dead as a game development company.

Yes, that's what you told you would have read anywhere. I disagree with ageres if he's seeing Valbe as dead as gaming developers forever. Though obviously it isn't their main concern and in my not so humble opinion never will be again.

kuhpunktAnd it's not just here. It's everywhere.

No, it's not. Discussion was about the last years, not the years to come. Prediction is especially hard when concerning the future, for everybody of us.
kuhpunkt 3 December 2018 at 9:19 am UTC
EikeNo, it's not. Discussion was about the last years, not the years to come. Prediction is especially hard when concerning the future, for everybody of us.

Of course it's everywhere. I see opinion pieces, I see comment sections... everywhere are people who say that Valve is dead as a game developer, that they will never make games again, because they earn their money with Steam and that there will never be a Half-Life 3 unless we riot (slightly hyperbolic).

That's what's so annoying. As you said: we don't know the future and speculating is hard.

But I'm still waiting for an answer to the question what people think what the game developers at Valve did for the past couple of years? All I got was them swimming in Scrooge McDuck's money bin.

We KNOW FOR A FACT that they spent a lot of time developing the Source 2 engine, to make it easier to create content and all that stuff. That's real. Not speculation. We've seen screenshots and artwork of other projects they've been working on. That's real.
Eike 3 December 2018 at 10:29 am UTC
kuhpunktOf course it's everywhere. I see opinion pieces, I see comment sections... everywhere are people who say that Valve is dead as a game developer, that they will never make games again, because they earn their money with Steam and that there will never be a Half-Life 3 unless we riot (slightly hyperbolic).

Valve didn't publish a single game for five years between Dota 2 (2013) and Artifact (2018). (Before that, they released 24 games in 14 years.) Both games are from genres that do attract a lot of people, but are uninteresting to a lot, probably an even bigger lot of people as well. And neither MOBAs nor TCGs are what people loved Valve for as a developing house.

People are stating that Valve has not been eagerly making games for a long time (half a decade) with a reason. And, which is the main point... they are crestfallen! They are aching for HL3, Portal 3, L4D3! What Valve has been releasing 5 years ago and last week was disappointing their hopes. From what I read, you're longing for Half-Life 3 as well. (Which seems to be a reason for your strong feelings to me.)

Speculation ahead: Half-Life 3 will never come. They didn't even dare to call HL2Ep1 & 2 "Half-Life 3". No game could satisfy what people are dreaming of, that's why there will be no such game. Not even (or maybe even less likely then) when people riot.

kuhpunktBut I'm still waiting for an answer to the question what people think what the game developers at Valve did for the past couple of years? All I got was them swimming in Scrooge McDuck's money bin.

It's a good question I wish I could answer. Caring for their long-term games sure provides some work, but I wonder for how long for how many developers. Is there a number of developers known by the way? My guess is that for such a lucrative company, their output is not too important. Because, what I guess you can agree on: Valve is making the vast majority of its money by selling foreign games.
kuhpunkt 3 December 2018 at 11:41 am UTC
EikeValve didn't publish a single game for five years between Dota 2 (2013) and Artifact (2018).

But that doesn't mean that they didn't work on anything. We barley got a glimpse behind the scenes through some leaks. Blizzard worked on that Warcraft Adventure. It was almost finished, but never published. Blizzard worked on Starcraft: Ghost. That had some trouble, but was shown multiple times. It was never released. Blizzard worked for years on a project named Titan. That was never released and was supposedly turned into Overwatch. Concluding that they weren't developing anything based on the fact that those games were never published makes no sense. And Valve worked on HL3 (there's even a rumor about it being an RTS!), Left 4 Dead 3 and other stuff. They worked on a space pirate games called Stars of Blood. It was just canceled, like other games... that even happened before Half-Life 1. That happens in lots of companies.

Eike(Before that, they released 24 games in 14 years.)

Barely. You aren't seriously counting something like Lost Coast. Or Alien Swarm. Right?

EikePeople are stating that Valve has not been eagerly making games for a long time (half a decade) with a reason. And, which is the main point... they are crestfallen! They are aching for HL3, Portal 3, L4D3! What Valve has been releasing 5 years ago and last week was disappointing their hopes. From what I read, you're longing for Half-Life 3 as well. (Which seems to be a reason for your strong feelings to me.)

Yes of course I want Half-Life 3. But just because it hasn't been published yet doesn't mean they aren't working on it RIGHT NOW. You can't deny that this is possible.

EikeSpeculation ahead: Half-Life 3 will never come. They didn't even dare to call HL2Ep1 & 2 "Half-Life 3". No game could satisfy what people are dreaming of, that's why there will be no such game. Not even (or maybe even less likely then) when people riot.

I'm sure that you will be happy when you find out that you're wrong. Whenever that day will come.

EikeIt's a good question I wish I could answer. Caring for their long-term games sure provides some work, but I wonder for how long for how many developers. Is there a number of developers known by the way? My guess is that for such a lucrative company, their output is not too important.

Of course it's not too important. But it would make no sense to keep all those devs employed and waste money on them if they weren't doing anything.

EikeBecause, what I guess you can agree on: Valve is making the vast majority of its money by selling foreign games.

Of course. And that gives them an incredible amount of resources that many other devs can't afford.

There's been that saying (I think it's from Walt Disney himself) and you can argue all day whether that still applies, but it goes like this: "We don't make movies to make money, we make money to make movies."

I think something like that applies to Valve, too. They make a shit ton of money with Steam and with that money they work on all kinds of projects. Linux, VR and of course games. They just created a new website in May of this year to show this. And that's the thing that frustrates people: they can afford to do things the way they want. If they aren't happy and satisfied with a game, they won't release it (Gabe himself said that he regrets Half-Life and that was a series of compromises and failures with Xen being completely rushed and made in a few weeks or something). They aren't forced to ship any crap like Underworld Ascendant or whatever. They also are not owned by anybody. They have no shareholders that force them to release stuff. EA doesn't dictate them to develop the next Need for Speed.

I brought up this example before, but I will bring it again: Valve is Schrödinger's box. There's a cat in the box. But we don't know whether the cat is dead or alive. None of us really do. We just know there's a cat in it and we will only find out if it's dead or alive when the box is opened.

Maybe we even get to look into this box THIS FRIDAY at the Game Awards. What if they present a new game in a few days? What will people say then? It's possible. But I bet some people will be angry when it's "just" a VR game anyway... because that's not a real game.
Dunc 3 December 2018 at 4:50 pm UTC
kuhpunktYes, some people left, but also a lot of other people joined them. And some of the people that left actually returned to Valve.
Which was my original point. Valve are returning to game development with things like Artifact (not that - I suppose I have to spell this out - they ever dropped it completely). That's good.
etonbears 3 December 2018 at 6:36 pm UTC
As most people know from the leak of Valve's handbook for new recruits in 2012, they operate a policy where each employee is encouraged to work on what they think is most important for their customers, and there is no real project management in the strict sense.

This fits in with the fact that for Valve, everything seems to happen when it happens, rather than to any externally obvious plan. What is clear is that since Gabe made his initial views on Windows 10 known, there has been a switch in emphasis in Valve; they have focused on hardware projects, making Linux a practical gaming environment, and expanding Steam support for Mac and Linux, in addition to their previous core competences of Steam on Windows and games development.

As a result there has been not much games output, but they did release a new version of the source engine in 2015 and now their Artifact card game. There has almost certainly been other activity towards other games that we have not seen, but I suspect those projects were starved of the necessary personnel, who made the choice to work on projects they considered more important. It must be quite hard to work in Valve if you really believe in a game project, but see the people you need to help you drift off to other projects. This may explain why there are periodic rumours of work on Half-Life and other games, but nothing concrete emerges, and maybe that was also why some people left.

It is obviously quite frustrating for passionate gamers who see other publisher's titles turned into franchises that produce regular releases, but see Valve not seem to care. But then there have been many changes in gaming over the last 10 years to accommodate a mass-market customer base that is very different from when Half-Life was released. We certainly will get more games from Valve ( Gabe says so, and it is first on the list of what they do on their home page ), but that doesn't mean we will necessarily get the sort of games we individually want.
Dunc 3 December 2018 at 6:47 pm UTC
ageres
kuhpunktWhat else do you think those developers are doing?
Probably this:
image
No, not necessarily. A lot of their existing games need maintenance, especially the online stuff, although even HL2 has seen updates surprisingly recently. (And, to be fair to Valve, they've released updates and patches for their offline games when other developers wouldn't have bothered.) And they ported everything to Linux. You don't have to be making new games to need working devs.


Last edited by Dunc at 3 December 2018 at 6:48 pm UTC
zen_xeno 4 December 2018 at 10:42 pm UTC
KimyrielleWhat can I say? It's consistent with non-digital businesses. Large corporations get tax breaks and subsidies. Small companies get lots of red tape and will be milked by the taxman. By making the rich richer, Steam is just doing what everyone else does.

Yes, the tallest trees will grow taller and taller because they get the most light. Look up the Pareto distribution, you'll see why this isn't the fault of human choice or of any economic system but is just the way it is for all creative output. Not that we shouldn't do something about it, small guys need a boost sometimes to get more limelight.
Purple Library Guy 5 December 2018 at 12:14 am UTC
zen_xeno
KimyrielleWhat can I say? It's consistent with non-digital businesses. Large corporations get tax breaks and subsidies. Small companies get lots of red tape and will be milked by the taxman. By making the rich richer, Steam is just doing what everyone else does.

Yes, the tallest trees will grow taller and taller because they get the most light. Look up the Pareto distribution
I just did that. It seems to be a sort of collection of anecdotes rather than a principle of any sort--basically an observation that relationships that look sort of similar have happened in a number of different unrelated cases. Not sure it means much more than the observation that Fibonacci sequences often crop up in nature.
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