Microsoft Plans to Decrease App Charges For Builders

Microsoft will reduce the proportion of the money that it charges independent developers who publish PC games in its online store starting in August, the company said on Thursday.

Developers will keep 88 percent of revenue from their games, up from 70 percent. This could make the Microsoft store more attractive to independent studios than competitors like Valve’s gaming store Steam, which typically starts with a 30 percent cut. Epic Games’ store takes 12 percent.

“We want to make sure we’re competitive in the marketplace,” said Sarah Bond, a Microsoft vice president who leads the organization of the gaming ecosystem. “Our goal is to have a leading revenue share and a truly leading platform.”

Developer share of revenue has been scrutinized across the tech industry. Google and Apple have been asking antitrust questions about the 30 percent fee they charge developers whose programs appear in their app stores.

Last year, Epic separately sued Apple and Google, claiming they violated antitrust laws by forcing developers to use their payment systems. Epic had tried to bypass the fees by allowing customers to pay for items in its Fortnite video game directly in Epic. This resulted in Apple and Google booting Fortnite from their app stores.

Apple and Google have since lowered fees for some developers. Epic’s lawsuit against Apple will be brought to trial Monday in the US District Court in Oakland, California.

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