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.
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.