Epic Games Store has already started targeting influencers by providing them with a cut of game sales that they help promote. However, while Epic has previously stated that it would pay out this percentage to influencers itself, the company’s Director of Publishing Strategy Sergey Galyonkin has reportedly said that devs be asked to foot the bill in the future, with indie developers paying up to 20 percent in order to have their games marketed by influencers. Epic is also said to be looking at making this the primary strategy of users discovering new games.
Epic previously outlined its plans for its influencer program on its blog post announcing the Epic Games Store. In the post, Epic outlined its ‘Support-a-Creator’ program, in which developers would be able to partner with YouTubers, Twitch streamers, and bloggers in order to advertise their games.
“If you opt to participate, creators who refer players to buy your game will receive a share of the revenue that you set (tracked by code or affiliate marketing link),” the post reads. “To jumpstart the creator economy, Epic will cover the first 5% of creator revenue-sharing for the first 24 months.”
But in comments made by Galyonkin during the Russian-speaking How Games Are Made podcast, the director pointed out what the program is planned to look like after the 24-month window is up. As translated by ResetEra user daxy, Galyonskin reportedly discussed how the Epic Games Store would differentiate itself from Steam when it came to promoting games. He discussed how the store wouldn’t use algorithms in order to determine which games users wanted to purchase, with it having a curated front page similar to the iOS App Store instead.
However, in a more notable change, Epic Games Store’s take on Steam’s curators feature would be much more prominent, rewarding influencers who promoted games with money from devs’ own pockets. Epic Games Store currently takes a 12 percent cut of revenue from games sold on the service, with the Support-a-Creator program being entirely optional. As it stands, the pricing system is also optional, with developers able to decide if they wish to grant influencers anything from 0 percent to 100 percent of the revenue for every game they help sell.
While Epic has funded the Support-a-Creator program on revenue up to 5 percent, moving this to a developer-funded scheme could be a pricey endeavor for those who choose to use it. According to the translation, Galyonkin offered an example that would see indie developers giving a 20 percent cut, while a big publisher would opt for a 5 percent cut given its steeper marketing budget outside of utilizing influencers.
It’s an interesting and controversial approach from Epic, with influencers being directly responsible for how games are promoted on its storefront. It remains to be seen how this will look in practice, but after the 24-month window is up, we’ll see how many devs choose to use their budget in order to get influencers on board.