The Epic Games store is advancing by leaps and bounds. Epic revealed today that its PC gaming portal reached 61 million monthly active PC gamers. It also had an average maximum concurrent player count of 13 million on PC. This occurred when Epic gave away free games as part of the “The Vault” promotional event. Free games include Grand Theft Auto V, Ark: Survival Evolved, Civilization VI, and Borderlands: The Handsome Collection.
The Vault was an important event for Epic and its store. Not only did he spend money to acquire the rights to give away the games, but he also had a huge marketing budget. You can find free game announcements on websites, podcasts, and more. And it seems that it has been worth it.
Attracting large numbers of active gaming fans is crucial to building the Epic Games Store as a competitor to Steam. Until this moment, Epic was trying to do that with exclusive timed. Or, in other words, Epic was paying developers to keep their games off Steam for a certain period of time. Epic doesn’t share exact numbers, but giving away hit games seems more effective.
But all of Epic’s expenses are spent with the goal of turning its game store into a self-sufficient platform. And that’s where active users come in.
In comparison, Steam had 95 million monthly active players in 2019. It also vacillates between 14 million and 20 million peak concurrent players each day. Those gigantic numbers make Steam the default leader in PC gaming. If you have a new game and want it to reach the widest potential audience, Steam is your first (and often the only) option.
But now, for at least a month, Epic is within an iron of 9 of the Steam numbers.
If the Epic Games Store can sustain this momentum, then it could continue to remove support from Steam through face-to-face competition. That’s especially true because Epic takes only a 12% cut of store revenue, while Steam takes 30% up to a certain threshold.
Is Epic Winning?
Epic’s stated goal is to force Valve to cut his cut. Place that In other words, Epic wants to access the Steam audience without having to pay Valve’s set price. If the Epic Games Store continues to grow, maybe Valve feels that pressure. But it’s hard to imagine that at the moment.
Even when Epic was giving away games, Electronic Arts was returning to Valve after years of trying to build its own Steam competitor on Origin. Now you can get games like FIFA, Titanfall 2 and Mass Effect 3 on Steam.
Titanfall 2 is even seeing a resurgence of engagement thanks to the Steam audience. And while gamers entered the Epic Games Store to get free GTA V, would the Epic Games Store audience become a $ 10 shooter starting in 2016 just because it suddenly appeared on Epic? That still seems unlikely.
In fairness to Epic, competing with Steam doesn’t seem as absurd as it was before. He is obviously serious about taking this battle out for years. And if you continue to commit millions of dollars in resources for promotions like The Vault, perhaps you can buy the audience that Steam has built up over the years. And Epic is looking to raise $ 750 million from investors.
But Epic’s real opponent here isn’t Valve, it’s time. The video game industry is volatile and constantly changing. Right now, services like Xbox Game Pass, PlayStation Now, and EA Access are looking to shift a significant portion of consumer spending to a subscription model. Few people buy music or movies on Spotify and Netflix, and the same could happen in games. And if that happens, Epic’s fight with Steam won’t matter.