Epic Games shared an ambitious roadmap for its online store's development, aiming to attract more third-party developers with special offers and an improved user experience.

Epic Games Outlines Store Improvement Plans to Attract More Developers

In an attempt to strengthen its online presence and rival platform giant Steam, Epic Games recently delineated a series of measures that it plans to implement over the next two years. The strategies not only focus on enhancing user experience with its Epic Games Store (EGS) but also aim to capture a significant third-party developer market share that Valve’s digital storefront currently dominates.

Epic plans to revolutionize its EGS user experience by incorporating a plethora of features. These include but are not limited to more robust search options to facilitate easy game browsing, support for third-party subscriptions, optimized launcher performance, an improved download manager providing enhanced controls, and a personalized "for you" tab to offer users a tailored gaming experience. The incremental efforts are due to be rolled out progressively from 2024 to 2025.

Additionally, Epic intends to continue its free games program well beyond 2023. This offering has been a key enticement, attracting several million gamers to the platform since its foundation.

To appeal to third-party developers more effectively, Epic has devised special publishing offers: the Epic First Run programme and the Now on Epic programme. Epic First Run invites developers to exclusively release their games on the EGS. In return, they would retain 100% of their revenue from their sales during the first six months on the platform, after which Epic would begin claiming a 12% share.

The Now on Epic programme offers the same deal, but to developers interested in releasing their older games on EGS. For developers to qualify for the program, they need to transfer either their entire game catalogue or at least three older games—those released before the 31st of October, 2023, and currently available on another online store or subscription service—onto EGS.

These strategic innovations seemingly emerged from an imperative need for Epic to diversify its EGS income stream. The gaming company recently experienced a dip in its profits, leading to a significant workforce trimming—around 16% or 800-900 employees. The company's CEO, Tim Sweeney, attributed this adjustment to Fortnite's shrinking profitability and a shift in the company’s economics due to a lower margin business approach than when its popular game, Fortnite Battle Royale, first gained traction.

In a move to remedy this situation, Epic is particularly keen on expanding its offerings to include third-party games. According to Kyle Billings, the gaming company's Director of Product and Content Strategy, around 67% of their player base is already playing third-party games, with half of them focusing exclusively on these games. He perceives this trend as a clear indicator of the third-party ecosystem's significance and an opportunity to cultivate its growth further.

With these strategic improvements, Epic envisions an exciting future for its digital storefront, standing its ground against other platforms while welcoming a wider selection of games beyond its own creations. The steps towards this vision will unfold over the next couple of years, with both gamers and game developers alike eagerly anticipating the transformations. By focusing on third-party developers' needs and ensuring attractive programs are in place, Epic aims to transform its platform into a comprehensive hub for diverse gaming experiences.

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