How Tripwire’s Maneater plans to bite off a bigger chunk of the profits with Epic’s Game Store

The Epic Games Store is the biggest news in the PC retail space for a long time, as Tim Sweeney himself explained to us last week. But what do developers think of the new platform?

We caught up with John Gibson, Tripwire’s CEO and co-founder, to ask why the company’s latest title, open-world, bite-em-up Maneater, is among the first games to appear on the new store.

How did you come to be among the first to publish on the platform?

Epic saw the Maneater trailer at E3 and were very excited… they knew that Maneater was going to be a huge, unique, and groundbreaking game. After that they approached us to offer us an opportunity to bring the game to their new platform.

We’ve always had a great relationship with Epic, from getting our start winning their Make Something Unreal modding contest in 2005 to using three iterations of the Unreal game engine for all our our games since 2003. We also have been digitally distributing games on the PC longer than nearly any other developer, with our game Red Orchestra being one of the first third-party titles released on Steam in early 2006.

So when Epic set out to create their new platform a while back, they reached out to us to get our thoughts on what we as developers would like to see in a new game platform. We provided a lot of constructive feedback about discoverability, royalty structure and more.

What was really exciting, when they shared the details of the Epic Games store, was that they had listened to the developers, and made a platform that addressed that feedback about how to make a more successful game distribution platform.

Do you think that the Epic Games Store will drive more competition in the digital space?

We’ve got great relationships with all of our partners in the digital space and have had great success working with them over the years. We do think that the Epic Games store, with Epic behind it, is probably the first distribution platform in over a decade capable of changing the competitive landscape for digital games and games in general.

We think competition is good, and are particularly hopeful that the Epic Games store 88% royalty split becomes the new standard for digital game distribution, not just on PC but on consoles and mobile as well. More revenue for developers means better games for players – everybody wins.

The game is on Steam as well, but you’ll be making less per copy, how does that change your approach to marketing?

Our goal is to have our games in as many places as possible, to get the game in the hands of as many gamers as possible. We will continue to market generally across all platforms like we have always done.

We are excited about the Epic Games store Support-A-Creator program and how it could further transform game marketing, and empower creators as they connect gamers with great games.

So you’ll be promoting the game with influencers… will they be asked to refer viewers to Epic’s store?

Yes we’ll definitely be promoting Maneater with influencers. Video creators and streamers are the way that a large part of the gaming community learns about cool new games, and we’ve been using those for some time now to promote our games.

The difference with the Epic Games store Support-A-Creator program is that functionality is built directly into their storefront to streamline that process. We think that could really help grow the success of this model of improving discoverability of great games, and will be a win for developers, content creators, and gamers.

Will you be bringing your other titles to Epic Games Store?

As both a developer and a publisher, we’ve got some great new games coming down the line, both from games that we’re publishing and games we’re developing in-house at Tripwire.

We’re looking forward to bringing these games to the Epic Games store as well as some of our great games that are already released such as Killing Floor 2 and Rising Storm 2. We’ll also continue to bring our games out wherever we can so that gamers everywhere can enjoy them. 

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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