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PC game devs still have to pay Microsoft 12% of revenue, but that's the best in the business

Hp Omen 30l Case
Hp Omen 30l Case (Image credit: Daniel Rubino / Windows Central)

What you need to know

  • Microsoft will let app developers keep 100% of revenue from apps in the Microsoft Store if they use their own commerce platform.
  • Game developers will still have to give 12% of their revenue to Microsoft.
  • Microsoft reduced the cut that game developers had to give from 30% to 12% last year.

When Microsoft announced Windows 11, it announced a new revenue model for app developers. Starting July 28, 2021, if an app in the Microsoft Store uses a third-party commerce system, like the Adobe Creative Cloud does, then its developer can keep 100% of its revenue. This is a dramatic shift for Microsoft, but it doesn't apply to games.

Game developers with titles in the Microsoft Store will still have to give Microsoft a 12% cut of revenue. Microsoft lowered that cut from 30% to 12% last summer in a move to place it in line with the Epic Games Store. 12% is dramatically lower than 30%, but of course, it's also a lot more than the 0% that some app developers will have to share.

This information isn't surprising. The game industry has a different revenue model than the app industry. Microsoft's blog posts and other documentation also clearly state that the option to keep 100% of revenue does not include PC games.

Microsoft's 12% cut from PC games is tied for lowest in the industry with the Epic Games Store. It's also much lower than what Google and Apple take, which is generally 30%.

Just because it isn't surprising doesn't mean everyone is happy with the news. Epic Games CEO and founder Tim Sweeney tweeted positively about Microsoft's move. That tweet may have been sent before Sweeney understood it didn't apply to PC games. Responses to Sweeney's tweet were largely negative and pointed to the fact that the change didn't apply to PC games.

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It's difficult to believe that Sweeney could be that upset about Microsoft getting the same 12% cut that Epic Games gets, but we'll have to wait to see any follow-up tweets from the CEO.

Sean Endicott
Sean Endicott

Sean Endicott is the news writer for Windows Central. If it runs Windows, is made by Microsoft, or has anything to do with either, he's on it. Sean's been with Windows Central since 2017 and is also our resident app expert. If you have a news tip or an app to review, hit him up at sean.endicott@futurenet.com.

2 Comments
  • I doubt Tim Sweeny has anything to be upset about after all Epic charges 12%. If Epic wanted to make any sort of wave they should have done it before the announcement and reduced that 12% to maybe 10%. I don't think Tim Sweeny want's to play that game (pun intended) 😅 with Microsoft.
  • The MS Store remains an afterthought for both consumers and devs. If MS wanted to cut to the front of the line, they should have gone all-in and made the zero-percent deal available for game devs as well. Especially given MS's history of abandoning things, they have ground to make up, and it's not enough to offer the same split as, say, the Epic Games store.