Valve Announces New ‘Revenue Share Tiers’ For Steam Games

Valve Announces New ‘Revenue Share Tiers’ For Steam Games
Image: Valve

With few exceptions, all games sold on Steam have their revenue split with Valve 70/30, the larger portion going to the developer. However, for the first time since the platform’s launch 15 years ago, Valve will offer titles that make over certain amounts a more generous share. But, far from helping smaller indies, the change will benefit games already making cash hand over fist.

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There are two new tiers, according to a post by Erik P on the official Steamworks group. While discussions on this group are closed to the public, the announcements can be viewed by anyone.

The post reveals that the first new tier starts at $US10 million, and alters the share to 75/25. When a game reaches $US50 million, this changes to 80/20. It’s mentioned that “revenue” counts not only sales, but “game packages, DLC, in-game sales, and Community Marketplace game fees”.

As for the reasoning behind the new tiers, here’s Valve’s explanation:

Our hope is this change will reward the positive network effects generated by developers of big games, further aligning their interests with Steam and the community.

Make of that what you will.

Jonathon Blow, developer of Braid and The Witness, commented on Twitter that the change should “apply to mid-size and smaller titles” including The Witness “during its lifetime”, while the likes of Campo Santo’s Firewatch “certainly would”.

In addition, Valve has updated its “confidentiality provisions” so developers are free to share their earnings data “as they see fit”, without fear of repercussions. It is well-known Valve is cagey when it comes to releasing data about its platform (one only has to look at the fate of Steam Spy for evidence of that), so hopefully this leads to more transparency about the platform’s profitability.

While it would be nice for Valve to offer small developers a better deal, it makes sense for it to keep its big earners happy… lest they leave to create their own distribution platforms.

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New Revenue Share Tiers and other updates to the Steam Distribution Agreement [Steam]


  • Sounds like a move to encourage big publishers not to set up competing stores (e.g. Origin,, Uplay, Bethesda store, etc).

  • Yup. Just trying to hold onto their monopoly.

    Which is honestly why I think they’ve been so foolish with Artifact. They should be releasing must-play games for free or for one-time payments only.

    There’s a reason Sony and Nintendo first party titles are premium and don’t include MTX. Better games = more people using your platform. More people = more digital sales, all of which the store front takes their cut from.

    • I’m sure Valve wishes they had of thought of an online store before Sony and Nintendo… lol.
      Nintendo don’t even supply games that people would pay for even when begged. And sony can barely keep their online network without at least a major offline event/ hack.
      Valve have its problems, but Sony and Nintendo can’t teach them shit.

      • “Nintendo don’t even supply games that people would pay for even when begged.”

        I don’t understand what you’re trying to say.

        Anyway… Steam was built on the back of Half-Life / Counter-Strike and Valves first-mover advantage with their digital shopfront. It’s now sustained from the fact that people have invested a tonne of money within their walled garden.

        The thing is, other publishers are slowly building their own stores up. What happens if CDPR, Bethesda, Ubisoft all decide to go the same direction as EA? Pretty much every major publisher has their own store infrastructure at this stage.

        First party titles are important. They are what draw people in initially. Just ask Microsoft how they’re doing against Sony.

    • It’s clear Valve are predominately interested in Steam as a platform (and putting out hardware that people don’t widely adopt) instead of making games these days. The days of Half Life are long gone. They definitely have projects cooking away, but it’s obvious their major focus is now Steam because it makes them loads of money.

  • Have they heard the saying, “The rich get richer while the poor get poorer?” Why are they punishing the “poor” publishers with steeper “taxes” while the “rich” publishers get “tax breaks”? I know we’re talking a difference of 10% here but shouldn’t Valve be doing more to help the people starting out, not just encouraging the big money earners to stick around…

    Oh, now I get it.

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