Microsoft will reduce its Windows Store sales cut to 12 percent for PC games, bringing the company’s digital marketplace in line with the Epic Games Store and putting pressure on Valve’s ever-popular Steam.
According to The Verge, Microsoft will make the switch on August 1st. Going forward, the company will take a 12 percent cut from PC game sales. However, the company plans to continue taking the 30 percent cut from Xbox games.
That decision likely stems from differences in how the console marketplace works — The Verge explains that console companies like Microsoft, Sony and Nintendo often subsidize the cost of the console so that customers can more easily afford them. In return, they make money off the 30 percent cut of store sales.
With PC gaming, things are quite a bit different — gamers have plenty of choice when it comes to stores. Steam, the Windows Store, Epic Games and EA’s Origin app (or EA Desktop, if you’re in the beta) are just a few of the numerous gaming storefronts.
However, Valve’s Steam remains the most popular and still takes a 30 percent cut of sales, although the company reduces that to 25 percent once sales hit $10 million USD and to 20 percent when sales hit $50 million (roughly $12.3 million and $61.5 million, CAD respectively).
Microsoft’s 30 percent sales cut far from the only problem with Windows Store
While reducing its cut of sales will likely help Microsoft woo developers to the Windows Store, it’s far from the only issue keeping developers at bay. For one, Microsoft has long required developers to launch apps on the Windows Store using the Universal Windows Program (UWP) format. However, Microsoft allowed developers to put Win32 games on the store a few years ago.
There are other issues too, like a poor app experience for users, unreliable downloads and more. But those issues could be set to change too — Microsoft told The Verge it would improve install reliability and download speeds “over the next few months.”
Coupled with rumours that Microsoft plans to revamp the Windows Store with a new UI and other improvements, we could see a much better store on Windows 10 in the near future. Interestingly, that Store revamp reportedly will include the option for developers to implement their own commerce platforms instead of relying on Microsoft’s payment system. If true, that could make the Windows Store one of the better places for PC games, with lower revenue cuts and freedom to implement other forms of payment.
Of course, some of this is speculation, and even if it does come to pass, Microsoft may still struggle to convince gamers to jump ship from Steam.
Source: The Verge