After multiple years of beta testing, Epic Games -- creators of Fortnite and Unreal Engine -- announced on Thursday it will begin allowing developers to self-publish games to the company’s PC storefront, a move that will likely attract many more games and an edge over rival game publishers like Steam.
Instead of competing in a selection process, developers can now pay $100 per title and publish their games if they meet specific safety requirements, such as the avoidance of hateful or discriminatory content, copyright infringement, illegal content, malware, or pornography.
Epic will also offer developers age ratings for free through a partnership with the International Age Rating Coalition (IARC), which differentiates Epic's offerings from that of Steam or Valve, a platform that has fewer safety precautions.
In a conversation with The Verge, Epic CEO Tim Sweeney said his company is trying to fill a gap -- “There's a whole bunch of the PC gaming ecosystem that’s been broken for a long time because of the lack of highly accessible rating systems for developers.”
Developers may also flock to self-publish on Epic due to the platform's promise of a higher revenue cut. The company takes 12 percent, whereas other publishers like Steam take up to 30 percent, making it easier for small studios to reach sizable audiences without taking a major hit on revenue.
Sweeney told The Verge that Epic’s self-publishing capabilities have taken time to finalize due to the rapidly changing expectations of gaming ecosystems. In December, Epic was involved in a $520 million settlement with the Federal Trade Commission after being accused of violating the federal children's privacy law.