Steam is in trouble. It's being beset on all sides by competitors, and now with Epic Game Store offering a competitive deal for developers it's up to Valve to show that Steam is still worth it. Unfortunately, a new survey of game developers has shown that those developers do not believe Steam is worth the 30% they pay.
The annual survey has been conducted for the last few years, and impressions of Valve and Steam amongst developers has dropped significantly. Developers are losing confidence in Steam, they do not believe the money they pay to the store is justified, and this will play into Epic's hands.
The full survey can be read here, and it's worth doing so as it's fascinating. It's called "Operation Tell Valve All The Things, 3.0." It's important to realise that the most recent survey for 2018 was rushed, and wasn't allowed the time or had the amount of developer respondents as previous years - because surveyor Lars Doucet was due for a meeting with Valve and wanted to give them this information. So, it is by no means perfect, binding, or truly scientific.
However, it does give a strong indication that many game developers are unhappy with Valve and the way Steam is run. Answers to statements about Valve such as "Answers my questions and meets my needs" or "Has interests positively aligned with mine" has dropped significantly into Negative, but it's the statement that Valve is earning the 30% cut they take from game sales that's the most alarming.
The view of Western developers in particular towards Steam in this category has dropped significantly. In the US for example, 82% of developers voted that Steam was NOT earning their pay cut, due to various reasons. This includes their games getting screwed by "the algorithm" - which means Steam's bizarre algorithm that chooses what games to promote and not to promote.
With the Epic Games Store now up and running - and incidentally, most of the developers surveyed said they were considering putting their games on Epic's store - and an increasing number of major games and publishers leaving Steam for other digital platforms, Valve is under pressure to make Steam worth it for developers again - and for consumers.
Developers Do Not Believe Steam is Worth It Anymore
11 December 2018 | 15 comments | By Chris J Capel