Epic Games Store takes first step to Steam-styled self-publishing with closed beta

Epic has announced the Epic Games Store (EGS) is making the move to a developer-led publishing system. With closed beta signups occurring as of today. 

To date, EGS has been a closed shop, with an internal “manual process” being used to identify and bring the 650 games and apps to date onto the store. That’s all now set to change with Epic launching self-publishing tools to allow developers to post their own content to the store. 

This was an inevitable move, a curated launch was a sensible start in order to showcase high-quality content and ensure the space for valued new partners to breathe, but the sheer wealth and diversity of PC games (and software) can’t be managed by any reasonably-sized team. 

The new tools will let developers “set up their product pages, achievements, pricing, offers, builds, and updates on the Epic Games Store with less dependence on the Epic Games Store team,” said a statement from Epic. 

The closed beta will be used to stress test the tools while gradually increasing the number of games on the store. “This is the first step towards opening up the store so all developers can submit products.”

Any developer or publisher can submit titles for consideration in the beta, with Epic choosing who gets to participate, so it will form a halfway house between the current closed shop and a fully open future. The only requirement stated at present is that titles must be crossplay with other PC storefronts, ie. Steam, though that goes without saying really. 

Of course opening up the store to all and sundry will create issues. Epic has put out a short list of what it calls “prohibited content,” although as we know deciding where to draw the line on what counts as hateful or pornographic is not as easy as writing a bullet point.  

  • Hateful or discriminatory content
  • Pornography
  • Illegal content
  • Content that infringes on intellectual property you do not own or have rights to use
  • Scams, frauds, or deceptive practices, such as fake games or malware

And, of course, the store will now have its work cut out to manage the issues of discoverability, as once it’s fully open and the amount of games on it rise by a hundredfold and more. 

The move brings EGS in line with Steam, which launched its open era of Steam Direct back in 2017, having previously used a user-voted Greenlight system to win inclusion on the store. Although of course EPic retains the advantage of its 88/12 revenue share split, and waives Unreal Engine license fees as well for copies of titles sold on its store. See Epic Games Store for more details. 

About Seth Barton

Seth Barton is the editor of MCV – which covers every aspect of the industry: development, publishing, marketing and much more. Before that Seth toiled in games retail at Electronics Boutique, studied film at university, published console and PC games for the BBC, and spent many years working in tech journalism. Living in South East London, he divides his little free time between board games, video games, beer and family. You can find him tweeting @sethbarton1.

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