Seemingly in response to Epic’s grand announcement of their own games store and subsequent PR barrage at The Game Awards, Discord have announced they’re going to be offering a better cut on games distribution too. As of next year, the recently-launched Discord game store will be open for self-publishing, with the company taking 10% (less than Valve’s 30% and Epic’s 12%, more than Itch’s split-how-you-want), leaving developers with 90%. In their announcement, Discord state that “it does not cost 30% to distribute games in 2018“, and I’ve doubts it ever did once we went digital.
While this is a step in the right direction, I don’t feel like Discord is really drawing the crowds in a way comparable to Epic’s new store. They’re positioned better as a more polished Itch than a more indie Steam or Epic. While Discord is installed on a huge number of PCs, and I use it daily, I admit that I’ve only occasionally taken a peek at the store side of it. The most interesting part of it is the Nitro subscription service, which gets you access to a bunch of games Xbox Game Pass/Netflix style, but I’ve so much on my plate I don’t find it very tempting.
As mentioned, the indie-focused store Itch have minimal restrictions on content, and allow users to release for free, accept optional donations or sell outright, with a user-set percentage going to the store. 5% or 50% is up to the developer and how much they feel Itch is helping them get their game out there and in front of people. Discord do say that they’re looking at lowering their cut further by “optimizing our tech and making things more efficient”, but for now it’s only just a hair below Epic’s store, which is currently tempting many studios into offering exclusives away from Steam.
One thing’s for sure, though – games distribution is changing. My only question is how hard do their competitors have to push until Valve begins to move. That ‘we’ll only take 25% after you make $50 million‘ deal sounds a lot rougher nowadays.