GamesIndustry: Google has no plans to lower its 30% cut on Google Play, "It's been the industry standard"

tuxfool

Member
Oct 25, 2017
4,613
How did this Google Play Store article go all the way back to Epic/Valve anyways
Because Tim Sweeny is the hypocrite whining about it. And because idiots that chant the "competition" mantra in every thread don't understand context. Most of those stores add something of value to the diversity of the market from a consumer perspective. Developers would do well to understand that, because ultimately that will benefit them
 

ghostcrew

Spooky
Moderator
Oct 27, 2017
7,824
United Kingdom
Personally epic is just worse in every aspect for me as a costumer. Why should i care about it?
You shouldn't 'care' about any storefront. Epic, Origin, uPlay, GOG and Windows Store are all 'worse' than Steam in almost every way for me. I still have libraries full of games on all of them. That's not because I 'care about them' but because I like to buy games and play them. I bought Hades on the Epic Store not because i care about Epic but because I wanted to play Hades. I'll probably buy the new Subnautica there because I've been playing the original game there too. I'm probably going to pick up My Time at Portia soon from all the glowing reports here. It's exactly the same price on Steam and on Epic for me. I'll probably grab it on the Epic store considering more of my sale will go to the dev. I also have over 700 games in my Steam library but I don't 'care' about Steam.

For others the Steam forums/universal controller support for controllers like the Pro Controller etc/steam cards and achievements etc are gonna make Steam the default platform for them and I fully respect that. I'm a user who doesn't interact with any of that stuff so I'm fairly comfortable buying from/using the Epic store the same way I do GOG/Windows Store/Origin etc.
 
Last edited:

neon_dream

Member
Dec 18, 2017
2,901
Here's my question, because I don't think I've ever seen an actual argument for it, but what makes it an unfair cut? Why exactly is 30% too much, besides "i don't know it seems like it could be less?"
"I don't know. It sounds like a lot."

It's pretty standard in terms of overhead costs for retail stores. In fact it's generous compared to operating your own brick and mortar.
 

kiguel182

Member
Oct 31, 2017
2,621
Google and Apple at least provide full developmental environments for devs. It's not just a store front.

Steam also provides tons of value for devs don't get me wrong but they aren't maintaining Windows game development like Google and Apple are.
 

Vanillalite

The Fallen
Oct 25, 2017
3,240
There is a meaningful argument to be made against Apple since it's a locked ecosystem. Granted I don't have the time, want, or man power to deal with it, but you can't really do your own thing. You have to use the store.

Also I think it's different for game devs as games usually take longer, are more intricate, and require more man power than many apps. So you're math on investment return is probably different than someone like me making a small time app.

For me the percentage cut is worth it cause I don't have to deal with anything in terms of processing and distribution.

*Shrugs*
 

Tharp

Member
Oct 27, 2017
2,151
You shouldn't 'care' about any storefront. Epic, Origin, uPlay, GOG and Windows Store are all 'worse' than Steam in almost every way for me. I still have libraries full of games on all of them. That's not because I 'care about them' but because I like to buy games and play them. I bought Hades on the Epic Store not because i care about Epic but because I wanted to play Hades. I'll probably buy the new Subnautica there because I've been playing the original game there too. I'm probably going to pick up My Time at Portia soon from all the glowing reports here. It's exactly the same price on Steam and on Epic for me. I'll probably grab it on the Epic store considering more of my sale will go to the dev. I also have over 700 games in my Steam library but I don't 'care' about Steam.
Exactly my view as well. Steam has more features, but I use nearly none of them. I only run Steam when i'm going to play a game. I never engage with the social features since I use Discord for all that. I never use the forums or a bunch of the other features they offer beyond cloud saves. So it's just a game launcher to me, the game itself is what I care about. If I could buy a game on a different store and help support a smaller dev I will probably do so. My interaction with whatever game launcher/store i'm using is going to be the brief handful of seconds before i'm in the game itself.
 

tuxfool

Member
Oct 25, 2017
4,613
Google and Apple at least provide full developmental environments for devs. It's not just a store front.

Steam also provides tons of value for devs don't get me wrong but they aren't maintaining Windows game development like Google and Apple are.
Apple isn't maintaining a Windows game development environment. They're making you buy a Mac for that.
 

gofreak

Member
Oct 26, 2017
1,921
And they charge a shit ton to make a profit from selling that "facilitation". Given their margins on "facilitation", why do they deserve to charge 30% on their store?
The facilitation is of value to both consumer and producer. Why should they extract value from one and not the other? Or, to put it another way, if their facilitation for the producer involves more work than it does on another storefront, why can't they ask for more value than that other storefront? I would suggest it would take a lot more effort and expenditure to be able to even technically reach mobile customers, without an facilitator like Apple or Google, than it would take to technically reach a PC customer without Valve. It's true that beyond technicalities, Valve has a built-in market that it offers access to, and it should be rewarded for that value, but because they don't engage in all the heaviest parts of the chain to reach a customer, their position is easier to dis-intermediate and disrupt than those gatekeepers who do engage in all the heavy lifting across a chain from producer to consumer. I just don't see why the value in managing the whole path from producer to consumer shouldn't or couldn't be credited to them in the storefront cut.

The bigger picture is profitability. You're right, looking at the endeavor in isolation is wrong. Which is why the platform holders profits from all activities is important.

These mythical gatekeepers make plenty of money from more than just digital store sales. The console holders make licensing fees. They make money from hardware sales. They make money from selling cables, controllers, and online subscription fees. Those profits are not significant, as Xbox Live, PS+, and Switch Online sales success has shown.

Platform holders aren't doing this on behalf of developers. They're doing it on behalf of themselves. And in a market with numerous platforms and numerous companies who'd be happy to break into the market as a major platform, overall profitability and operating costs of digital platforms and profit margins on services are all of interest to the consumer.
Right, although I would say that in the middleman model, serving producers and consumers is serving yourself ultimately. Balancing value extraction from each party is the job really. I just don't think that because value is extracted from one party in one part of the chain, inherently it should not be extracted also from the other for the value created in that part. It depends on the balance you're going for. (Side note: while it's true that value extraction from the customer can diversify strongly across various things, I'd also say that at some points in the cycle, some of these platform holders do heavily subsidise customer adoption in order to grow a software market - a heavy tilt toward creating a favourable environment for the developer. And that those periods of risk for the platform holder can have an outsized effect on the health of the market overall, for the entire cycle. Of course in the end this is all in their own interests also, but their interest is served by creating that market for producers, and enabling access for consumers).
 

tuxfool

Member
Oct 25, 2017
4,613
The facilitation is of value to both consumer and producer. Why should they extract value from one and not the other? Or, to put it another way, if their facilitation for the producer involves more work than it does on another storefront, why can't they ask for more value than that other storefront? I would suggest it would take a lot more effort and expenditure to be able to even technically reach mobile customers, without an facilitator like Apple or Google, than it would take to technically reach a PC customer without Valve. It's true that beyond technicalities, Valve has a built-in market that it offers access to, and it should be rewarded for that value, but because they don't engage in all the heaviest parts of the chain to reach a customer, their position is easier to dis-intermediate and disrupt than those gatekeepers who do engage in all the heavy lifting across a chain from producer to consumer. I just don't see why the value in managing the whole path from producer to consumer shouldn't be credited to them in the storefront cut.
My argument is that facilitation is its own reward. If you're arguing that store margins should reward that facilitation and costs to maintain retail infrastructure then you're effectively arguing that double dipping is what justifies the 30% margin.
 

BronsonLee

it me
Member
Oct 24, 2017
14,191
A lot of PC/mobile devs probably haven't had to deal with physical store percentage cuts either, that would explain them pushing the issue so hard compared to others

This is basically happening because devs want all the cash and wanna give storefronts as little as possible, that's why stuff like the Amazon Appstore popped up
 

kiguel182

Member
Oct 31, 2017
2,621
Apple isn't maintaining a Windows game development environment. They're making you buy a Mac for that.
What?

The Metal API (the DirectX for IOS) is developed by Apple. They also make Xcode. They develop the Swift language. They also have their APIs for Machine Learning and even 2D Game Dev Tools.

They develop everything you need to use to make Apps for iOS. Buying a Mac doesn't subsidise that.

Also, Google is doing the same things of course.

My point being that in the PC space Microsoft is the one doing that work and not Valve. Altought Valve does develop an engine and a lot of tools their work is not as extensive as Google/Apple.
 

tuxfool

Member
Oct 25, 2017
4,613
What?

The Metal API (the DirectX for IOS) is developed by Apple. They also make Xcode. They develop the Swift language. They also have their APIs for Machine Learning and even 2D Game Dev Tools.

They develop everything you need to use to make Apps for iOS. Buying a Mac doesn't subsidise that.

Also, Google is doing the same things of course.

My point being that in the PC space Microsoft is the one doing that work and not Valve. Altought Valve does develop an engine and a lot of tools their work is not as extensive as Google/Apple.
Can I develop and publish iOS apps on windows? On Linux?

If I can't, then they're not offering a Windows development environment. They're giving you the wonderful opportunity to buy more shit from them just to develop for their mobile platform.

The difference here is Google isn't making you buy a specific developer device from them, just to develop from their platform.
 

fiendcode

Member
Oct 26, 2017
9,652
If we wanna compare amount of 'major' stores per platform (I'm spitballing here)

Apple: 1
Sony: 1 (maybe count GMG?)
Microsoft: 1
Nintendo: 1 (you can count Humble too, I guess?)
Android: 4 (being very generous here)
PC: 10+

Devs are always gonna want more gwap, and they're gonna target those last two first because they can actually negotiate more, meanwhile with the others it's basically yes or no
GMG and Humble might sell console games but they're not console storefronts. They just sell a code for the actual console storefronts, like Amazon or Gamestop.
 

gofreak

Member
Oct 26, 2017
1,921
My argument is that facilitation is its own reward. If you're arguing that store margins should reward that facilitation and costs to maintain retail infrastructure then you're effectively arguing that double dipping is what justifies the 30% margin.
What you're calling double dipping - a term I think is carrying potentially unfair connotations - is what others would call balancing a target margin from that facilitation across both parties that are each getting value out of it. You're not necessarily getting your target margin twice, as much as achieving your target margin by sharing it across both, in a way that's deliberately designed to (hopefully) keep the market growing.

Now we can talk about the margins sought by different parties. Yes, Apple certainly enjoys high margins. But some of these platform holders are not maintaining high margins (i.e. what they're getting from all parties combined on the facilitation is not much more than what they're spending to provide it...ergo in base dollar terms they're 'working' very hard for the margin they are getting).
 

tuxfool

Member
Oct 25, 2017
4,613
What you're calling double dipping - a term I think is carrying potentially unfair connotations - is what others would call balancing a target margin from that facilitation across both parties that are each getting value out of it. You're not necessarily getting your target margin twice, as much as achieving your target margin by sharing it across both, in a way that's deliberately designed to (hopefully) keep the market growing.

Now we can talk about the margins sought by different parties. Yes, Apple certainly enjoys high margins. But some of these platform holders are not maintaining high margins (i.e. what they're getting from all parties combined on the facilitation is not much more than what they're spending to provide it...ergo in base dollar terms they're 'working' very hard for the margin they are getting).
It's a negative connotation because because I view the platform as entirely separate from the margins taken by the store. They should gain revenue by making a platform desirable for consumers. The margin of the store should encompass what they offer developers and that targetable consumer base. However these two things aren't fungible, stores are a thing that happens on top.
 

Somnid

Member
Oct 25, 2017
2,003
Why would they, between Google Play and the Apple App Store we're looking at 90% of the total market for apps. Since Apple doesn't even allow sideloading it weakens the proposition of going it alone. This is a duopoly environment and competent governments should bust it because it will not naturally resolve itself.

In the mean time, developers need to start pushing harder on the open web. The vast amount of mobile games are entirely possible with just web.
 

BronsonLee

it me
Member
Oct 24, 2017
14,191
Why would they, between Google Play and the Apple App Store we're looking at 90% of the total market for apps. Since Apple doesn't even allow sideloading it weakens the proposition of going it alone. This is a duopoly environment and competent governments should bust it because it will not naturally resolve itself.

In the mean time, developers need to start pushing harder on the open web. The vast amount of mobile games are entirely possible with just web.
Yeah as it stands now, there's approximately 0 competitors for Apple and maybe 1 for Android (Amazon Appstore, which they're faltering on). The rest is a no
 

Vanillalite

The Fallen
Oct 25, 2017
3,240
Why would they, between Google Play and the Apple App Store we're looking at 90% of the total market for apps. Since Apple doesn't even allow sideloading it weakens the proposition of going it alone. This is a duopoly environment and competent governments should bust it because it will not naturally resolve itself.

In the mean time, developers need to start pushing harder on the open web. The vast amount of mobile games are entirely possible with just web.
I agree with need options for those that want to go their own route.

That being said I don't want to deal with hosting or payment so the current Apple/Google setup is fine for me. I don't want to yolo and go solo on my own. I suspect many smaller devs probably agree.
 

kiguel182

Member
Oct 31, 2017
2,621
Can I develop and publish iOS apps on windows? On Linux?

If I can't, then they're not offering a Windows development environment. They're giving you the wonderful opportunity to buy more shit from them just to develop for their mobile platform.

The difference here is Google isn't making you buy a specific developer device from them, just to develop from their platform.
Right, but what does that have to do with the cost of developing those tools?

That isn't subsidised by the cost of the Macs.
 

tuxfool

Member
Oct 25, 2017
4,613
Right, but what does that have to do with the cost of developing those tools?

That isn't subsidised by the cost of the Macs.
No, but that wasn't what you originally said. In the case of Apple, it certainly doesn't hurt that they get a nice kickback from flogging their other platform.

In regards to things like metal. This is on them, they could use cross platform APIs but they choose something proprietary, this is for them, not for developers.
 

Arthands

Member
Oct 26, 2017
4,323
Nobody said 30% wasn’t common. Doesn’t make it a fair cut for developers. I’m rooting for this to change. Doesn’t have to be 12% like Epic, but lowering it is good for sure.
So basically Google and probably Sony/Microsoft are greedy. And maybe Apple/Nintendo too
 

Hektor

Community Resettler
Member
Oct 25, 2017
6,538
Deutschland
Epics shortcoming are because they are new and have rushed the launcher. What will the excuse be when epic has the same features as other launchers, and still only take a 12% cut?
Epicstores shortcomings are also coming from the fact that cutting corners left and right are the only way to make their 12% cut work.
They are never going to be anything like steam, probably not even uplay, because they literally can't.

Do you need to hear it again?
I'm good fam.
 

Somnid

Member
Oct 25, 2017
2,003
I agree with need options for those that want to go their own route.

That being said I don't want to deal with hosting or payment so the current Apple/Google setup is fine for me. I don't want to yolo and go solo on my own. I suspect many smaller devs probably agree.
Keep in mind it's not just about going solo. Plenty of companies can offer full service hosting and support plans for smaller devs and for a significantly smaller cut. The problem is that the environment on both platforms is specifically engineered to prevent those types of things from getting traction.
 

Zafir

Member
Oct 25, 2017
2,589
Why would they, the 30% cut isn't just for the store front, it's all the extra features too and it's not like they're going to lose custom over it. I feel like this discussion often forgets that it's the consumers who fundamentally make the decision of which store front they want to buy from or use at the end of the day. If you try and lock something somewhere you can try and force people to use it, but that still requires peoples knowing of its existence and then actually wanting to use the thing. Fortnite may get a bit more of a pass since it's massive and its their own game anyway, but other games going onto their system, not so much...

As a consumer I still find it very difficult to care about Epic and their perspective regarding both Android and PC. If anything Fortnite not being on the play store just means I play it less because every time I go to click on it to play it needs to update. Where as if it was on the playstore it'd likely just automatically update like the majority of my other applications... On PC I'd likely just not buy a game on the epic store because the prices are just worse for me most of the time, never mind the fundamental lack of features and the fact the application itself runs poorly. I don't even like using the epic launcher to play Fortnite since it often rockets my CPU up to a silly amount, so I certainly wouldn't voluntarily want to use it for anything else.
 
Oct 26, 2017
2,089
Lol, what's even the point here?

It isn't like they have competition to have a real reason to lower their rate, so of course they are going to maintain them. They would be stupid to not to. Games like Fortnite that can allow to go outside the story are the very minor exception.
 

DumpsterJuice

Member
Oct 27, 2017
1,467
California
This is the thing that seems not to be understood by a lot of people, developers included. The rate covers for the services and infrastructure offered by the distributor, it's not just the store fee.

Epic might charge 12% but offers much less and some issues with the payment processing, customer support, localizations, QA are already popping up to prove that point.
We will see less sales on the Epic store. No way they can maintain 12% without sacrificing something.
 

Tain

Member
Oct 25, 2017
2,536
it sucks that, because there are good services that use 30% as the baseline, there are people that will defend it tooth and nail

at least right up until the good services decide on a different cut themselves, god willing
 

Vanillalite

The Fallen
Oct 25, 2017
3,240
Keep in mind it's not just about going solo. Plenty of companies can offer full service hosting and support plans for smaller devs and for a significantly smaller cut. The problem is that the environment on both platforms is specifically engineered to prevent those types of things from getting traction.
Maybe? You'd have to deal with a 3rd party processing all the money too like idk Square or Paypal. Not that it doesn't already happen, but I like that I don't have to deal with it all. Plus I'm not having to drive traffic elsewhere.

I totally agree the option should exist on iOS like it does on Android where you can install an apk no jailbreak needed. I just wonder how many devs would really ultimately use it.
 
Oct 30, 2017
1,093
Industry standard? Oh, you mean price cullusion.

It's like when all the the mobile carriers charged the same fee per text back in the day, despite all that supposed "competition."
 

kiguel182

Member
Oct 31, 2017
2,621
No, but that wasn't what you originally said. In the case of Apple, it certainly doesn't hurt that they get a nice kickback from flogging their other platform.

In regards to things like metal. This is on them, they could use cross platform APIs but they choose something proprietary, this is for them, not for developers.
My original point was that platform holders do a lot more work than Valve does since they aren't the platform holder. The fact that you have to buy a Mac to deploy (not to develop) apps for iOS is irrelevant since whatever they make from Macs isn't to fund that development.

They could. And so could Microsoft. What's your point? They still do that work that to allow for better development in that platform.

If you have some weird axe to grind with Apple it's not my problem.
 

tuxfool

Member
Oct 25, 2017
4,613
My original point was that platform holders do a lot more work than Valve does since they aren't the platform holder.
They should do more work, because they want consumers to *buy* their platform. Store margins aren't used to subsidize costs of developing of their platform, consumer sales are. To be clear, developer tools and services probably should be considered in the "store" margins, but definitely not the platform at large.
 
Last edited:

TSM

Member
Oct 27, 2017
1,427
On closed platforms the 30% may make some sense since it's the only way to access their customer base. On open platforms 30% seems like highway robbery. Considering how much time and money is invested in creating these games having to give away 30 cents on every dollar merely to sell and distribute your digital game must seem almost extortionate.
 

Alexandros

Member
Oct 26, 2017
5,865
But they still didn't build and own the entire chain the way other gatekeepers
And they don't have most of the additional revenue streams as those gatekeepers. No online subscription, no cut from retail sales, no money from hardware. Sony, Microsoft, Apple and others make obscene amounts of money through their walled gardens.

What does Valve do that earns the cut anymore than Sony or MS? Is it because they do 'PC gaming'
It was never my argument that Valve does more or less than other companies that ask for the same cut.

On closed platforms the 30% may make some sense since it's the only way to access their customer base. On open platforms 30% seems like highway robbery.
Well, that's one way to make sure that walled gardens remain unchallenged and open platforms get punished for their openness. It should be the other way around.
 

TSM

Member
Oct 27, 2017
1,427
Well, that's one way to make sure that walled gardens remain unchallenged and open platforms get punished for their openness. It should be the other way around.
What? That makes no sense. On an open platform there are no royalties, and the only thing a storefront absolutely has to offer is a way to purchase and download games. A 15GB game that costs $60 does not cost four times as much for a storefront to sell and distribute as a 15GB game that costs $15. The percentage charged to publishers has no direct relation to the actual costs of distributing their games. Ideally a storefront on an open platform would charge developers for their real operational and distribution costs along with a reasonable profit. The low cost of PC distribution due to it's lack of royalties has always been one of it's strengths.
 

gofreak

Member
Oct 26, 2017
1,921
And they don't have most of the additional revenue streams as those gatekeepers. No online subscription, no cut from retail sales, no money from hardware. Sony, Microsoft, Apple and others make obscene amounts of money through their walled gardens.
The margins on walled gardens are very variable. Some are pretty slender.

But otherwise, I see the argument about compartmentalising value extraction from different parts of the chain to distinct parties. E.g. I make money directly from party A here so I shouldn’t from party B.

I’ll just have to agree to disagree on that, I’d view the platform and the value provided more holistically, for all parties. I don’t see it as ‘party A’ pays for one part of the chain so ‘party B’ shouldn’t, elsewhere... business models can be a lot more sophisticated, and deferring value extraction or spreading it across multiple parts in a chain may make sense and is not at all unreasonable if it’s better for the overall health of the platform vs direct attribution of value at each part of the chain. And if party A pays a margin for something at one point it doesn’t mean party B gets no value out of that transaction, that party B may not be happy to pay something to be party to the benefits of that first transaction with party A. Which is basically what every content producer is doing when it pays a cut for access to the market created by millions of earlier transactions between consumer and gatekeeper (in a mobile/console context).

Anyway, I’m sort of just repeating myself in more abstract terms...
 

qrac

Member
Nov 13, 2017
454
Epicstores shortcomings are also coming from the fact that cutting corners left and right are the only way to make their 12% cut work.
They are never going to be anything like steam, probably not even uplay, because they literally can't.
So 30% is some magic number where platforms suddenly become profitable with improvements. Yeah I don't know, I'm gonna need to see some source about the costs. In my amature opinion it would be enough with 2-5% cut to still be profitable with improvements.

The point is that neither you nor me know the economics of platforms. But I'm certain that 30% is not some magic number and that there is a lot of profit until you reach 30%.