Microsoft has announced a huge change for its PC store, revealing on Thursday that it will pay developers a much larger percentage of revenue for games sold on the Microsoft Store.
Beginning August 1, developers will get to keep 88% of sales, with Microsoft taking 12% as the owner of the platform. This is a big change from the status quo, which is a 70/30 revenue share model. Microsoft said in a blog post that this arrangement has no catches.
“A clear, no-strings-attached revenue share means developers can bring more games to more players and find greater commercial success from doing so,” the company said.
Microsoft’s PC gaming efforts have left much to be desired over the years, and Xbox Game Studios boss Matt Booty acknowledged that the company still has a lot of room for improvement.
“We know that we still have a lot of work to do, but based on the response from both PC gamers and PC game developers, we think that we’re headed in the right direction for this community with the investments we’re making,” he said.
Looking ahead, Microsoft said it’s planning additional quality-of-life improvements for PC players. This includes faster download speeds and “improved install reliability,” among other things.
Microsoft cutting its commission rate on PC games to 12% from 30% sounds great but Microsoft’s PC game store market share isn’t very large so I don’t think it moves the needle much. It’s clear though that competition in the market is better for developers. <cough> Apple Google
— Matthew Kanterman, CFA (@theKantoarbot) April 29, 2021
In changing the revenue share to 88/12, Microsoft’s PC store becomes aligned with the Epic Games Store. It was the first major PC storefront to offer this share agreement, leading some developers to choose Epic’s store over others. Epic boss Tim Sweeney reacted to Microsoft’s news today, saying on Twitter, “Wow!”
Bloomberg analyst Matthew Kanterman said on Twitter that this news sounds great but probably won’t have much of an effect in practice because the Microsoft PC Store only represents a small part of the PC sales market.
The 70/30 revenue-sharing model remains in place on other PC stores, such as Steam, while it’s also the standard across digital stores on console.
The Epic Games Store has succeeded in some respects with its new, more generous revenue-sharing model. At least part of this success is no doubt attributable to how the store gives out free games on a regular basis and pays developers to bring their games exclusively to the store.
In other PC gaming news, Microsoft has announced that Halo Infinite will support cross-play and cross-progression, while it will have support for ultrawide monitors as well. Additionally, Microsoft disclosed that Halo: The Master Chief Collection has reached 10 million players on PC.