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.
When Steam announced support for the Australian dollar, it came with the same pre-existing condition as every other currency: if developers didn't set a region specific price for that currency, their games couldn't be sold in those regions.
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.
At long last. Support for the Australian dollar on Steam has been a long time coming. After announcing its intent to support the currency in 2014, the service began collecting information on the region officially last year through the developer backend.