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Epic Founder - App Store takes too much with 30% cut. UE4 Market to lower theirs?

Here’s the quote "These app stores take 30 percent of your revenue for distribution. That’s strange because Mastercard, Visa, and other companies that handle transactions take 2 percent or three percent of the revenue.”

There are countless examples of sellers asking how the 30% is going towards improving the marketplace infrastructure. Especially with the fact that we can no longer view our sales data live. While yes improvements are underway, lets not forget it took 3 years to get here and we still have a very long way to go.

I can speak from personal experience, and I know many others, that selling full time on the marketplace is more of a challenge than elsewhere like Gumroad where they only take 5% of your cut. Epic takes 30%. For $1500 that would be only $1050 from UE4 and that’s after you wait 45 days from the month you earn. Gumroad pays you within a week, and you’ll get $1425 out of that $1500 you earned. That not only helps with paying bills, but it allows us to put more money towards making future products for the marketplace. I never understood why games made with UE4 charged 5% royalties, but the marketplace is literally hanging the seller upside down and shaking them by the leg.

So if this is how you really feel on the subject Mr. Sweeney, then why not lead by example? UE4 led by example when they cut the subscription fee in favor of a free engine. Why not do it here to show places like the App Store that they shouldn’t be taking too much from developers who only want to continue making awesome content that shows off your engine and also helps the community.

[USER=“35”]Tim Sweeney[/USER];

Couldn’t agree more. The 30% cut has been outrageous from the start and always will be.

Let me see if tagging still works after forum upgrade.
@Tim Sweeney;

Edit: It doesn’t work for some reason. Sigh.

What determines how much a marketplace should charge? the amount of effort they put into it.

  1. Redistribution.
  2. Real time sale data.
  3. Analytics. Knowing where the audience are coming from and such.
  4. Tools to engage your audience -> Newsletters, updates and such.
  5. Automation -> no ~3 months wait times for a simple content review by staff.
  6. Transparency.
  7. Communication.
  8. Protection.
    etc.

But when it comes to UE4 Marketplace:

  1. Redistribution of content are done with 3-9 months delay. Vast majority of submissions are rejected due to wrong submission guidelines from Marketplace itself as well.
  2. Epic refused to invest a fraction of the 30% cut back into providing us consistent real time sales data and instead they cut it out with putting a 24 hour delay in place.
  3. Analytics? Marketplace never heard of such features.
  4. Absolutely no way to engage with your audience. Epic refuses to allow sellers to talk to their buyers. We only get to talk with the few people who happen to write on our support threads.
  5. Transparency has always been something Epic talks about. But when it comes to marketplace that word doesn’t make any sense. We don’t know what’s going on with our sale data really, anything can happen to it during the 24 hour delay and we wouldn’t notice. We also don’t know how many refunds are taking place on our products and why because sales data aren’t real time or transparent. If we sell 4 units of a product and have 3 refunds it’ll only show us 1 and we’d never know we’ve had 3 refunds.
  6. We don’t hear back through PMs, we rarely get replies in emails (~10 days wait at best), Marketplace Forum and Creator’s Hub are completely abandoned by the staff and no one from Epic talk to us there about our questions and concerns.
  7. Seems like the trend is pirates buy our products, ask for a refund by claiming their credit card has been lost or whatever and they’re granted refunds by Epic. That’s how we’re seeing our products go up on torrent right after uploading it to marketplace, without actually seeing any sales on the sales report.
    etc.

It’s only after 3 years of wait that we’re getting a beta seller portal. Where did all the money go to through these years since Marketplace’s existence? Furthermore, why does Gumroad charge 5% while providing tons of tools and options for us to work with? All other stores that are taking the same %30 cut are providing much more versatile and consistent services than Epic does with Marketplace. We aren’t even able to edit our own prices! Even AppStore has more rights to taking a 30% cut than Epic because it doesn’t take up to 9 months until they redistribute your thing. (Yes someone waited 9 months for his plugin and that’s crazy), and average release time being ~3 months. So in a nutshell Epic is charging 30% for redistributing content with 3-6 months delay.

We apprecaite the new seller portal, finally we’re able to edit our own product prices, images and so on, but the fact that it has taken 3 years makes it bitter to even think about it.

You should’ve charged 10% at most through these years and only raise your cut once are are providing services that are worth the money.

As an established seller, I couldn’t agree more. It’s hypocrite to speak negative of other marketplaces, while having the exact same in your own company.

As said before, we do not have a service that is worth 30%, instead of improving servers, our features get cut back with no word for improvements. After 3 years a better beta seller portal has been launched, which is a good step in the right direction but it took long enough. We pay a high fee to get a quality service but get nothing in return, not even in e-mail responses.

This has to change, either improve services drastically, giving us a 2-3 business days respond window instead of weeks, give us live sales data, analytics, list of buyers so we can communicate with them and inform of changes and critical information or lower the cut to have a balance between service/fees.

With 9 packs live, 1 in submission process we have actively stopped creating content for the marketplace until these conditions improve. It’s time things change.

Tim spoke about this at his keynote at devcome.
If I recall correctly he said that the costs and dimensions of the Unreal Marketplace are on a different scale and they can’t operate with a 10% cut unlike Apple and Co. who would be able to do so.

The cost of what? We have had a deterioration of services here, and rollback on features that we once had as alluded to above. If Gumroad can do it, then there’s no reason UE4 can’t. We were told before that UE4 was barely breaking even, but shortly after a former employee told us this wasn’t true at all.

Even without someone’s say-so it is hard to believe break-even being true. I personally know over 20 marketplace sellers who I talk to regularly, I know the data of their sales-performance and even with just this small number of sellers, it’s hard to believe that this is a break-even situation.

How exactly is Unreal’s Marketplace an exception, what exactly makes it such a “different scale”? Whatever happened to transperancy? I sincerely do not hope Epic is aiming to become the next Ubisoft.

30% is a harsh cut, as Tim Sweeney the Almighty himself said. I could see it happening if the Marketplace had standards - but currently the UE4 marketplace DOES NOT meet even the lowest of expectations. It’s turned to an absolute joke and disappointment and I sincerely hope they thoroughly re-organize it altogether.

And yes, it is indeed very hypocritical to criticize other marketplaces for their cut while their own takes a very similar - if not higher cut.

Utterly disappointing, I can’t help but feel sorry for the amount of wasted time some of you have put down on the Marketplace trying to get assets accepted and/or updated to new engine versions.

The marketplace not having ROI and at least break-even CAN be true. I guess the marketplace stuff is developed by external devs, and thats usually not cheap. Adding in that maybe Epic uses SAP, costs already explode.
Additionally doing everything in the marketplace by hand of course leads to much costs vs automation. And then we have the fun thing that its barely even and the boss doesnt want to invest more money for now, which results in even higher costs since the marketplace volume gets bigger and more stuff must be done by hand.

IF that statement was not true and the marketplace is actually successful, now that would be a punch in the face when the boss of the company we (more or less) love blatantly lied to the sellers that actually help that company to get more money through the marketplace AND attract more indie devs through this.

Though, we will most likely never find out.

And of course, talking about other companies that they should reduce their cut is much easier than reducing your own cut, regardless of having break-even or not, since suddenly its your money and not of the others.

There’s no indication it is being developed externally, with all conversations I had with the marketplace team and alike it is an in-house operation with some external reviewer(s). The automation vs manually, increase in costs would make sense if we would get a manual service, but e-mails not being replied to for weeks doesn’t indicate that the 30% cut funds are going fully towards hiring for manual work. The irony in this is that when we received the ability to manually change our own descriptions on marketplace assets, the responses from their team got even lower than before.

I know of several people who have been waiting to get their asset updated for 4.17 from the day it released, these e-mails aren’t being attended to, we and customers of the product have to wait a tremendous amount of time to get anything done, this is not worth a 30% cut.

Transparency in Epic is a problem, only lately since I started to put some pressure on getting stuff done on the marketplace have a I noticed a small increase in transparency but we’re far from dealing with an open and transparent marketplace, and we will never know if it’s really break-even unless Epic, as a whole, or just even the marketplace, starts being transparent. But from the information I gathered, a break-even scenario is very unlikely.

Before anything else, Epic HAS to understand something : Unity’s popularity is mostly because of its rich asset store. Programmers or tech nerds can discuss whatever “c++ vs. c#” discussion they can desire but the reality is that Unity’s asset store richness is one BIG fat factor to attract young masses of new developers.

Epic’s marketplace on the other hand is very…problematic, as all others have said.

Bottom line is this. If Epic realizes the real importance of its marketplace, I’m pretty sure they can handle the manpower or finances to iron out all of the problems related to marketplace.

I totally support the idea. Reducing the fee would be a great move (+ good publicity, remember UE4 becoming free?) that would attract a lot of new developers to create on Marketplace… And richer Marketplace would attract more devs to UE4 itself. That’s how the Marketplace could grow to a bigger scale, following this ‘win-win-win’ [MarketplaceDevs-UE4Devs-Epic] strategy.

Let’s pretend it’s a break even as they say. When they say “It’s break even” years ago, at the same time they refuse to see why that is. For 3 years or so they put maximum effort on keeping things as manual as possible. Of course the marketplace costs grow higher and higher as you don’t allow people to do their most basic tasks on their own. For years you have hired staff to edit OUR product prices for us, edit OUR product images for us, edit OUR product descriptions for us. etc. So in this case even if IF marketplace is a break even, that’s because of Epic itself and no other external reasons at all.

It’s just funny to claim mp deserves 30% because your operational costs are high and at the same time you refuse to see why your operational costs are high and you do absolutely nothing to lower it despite knowing there are other platforms providing more services and charging less than you.

A chunk of the 30% cut is also being wasted on these 3-9 months long product reviews before publishing. Epic is paying people to read every line of hundreds of lines of code in every plugin submission and they talk about high operational costs. Jeez!

While I do chuckle at the irony of Sweeney’s comments with the current state of the Marketplace and it’s cut being identical to the appstore, I don’t think comparing the marketplace to Gumroad is fair, comparing it to Steam would be closer to the point. No one is reviewing or checking quality or even if things work on Gumroad, there might be an issue if you get a ton of chargebacks and complaints but there is no crew of staff reviewing things to ensure they work, follow standards and are of a minimum quality. It’s pretty much the same even with Steam, no one is really reviewing our game except players and then the market decides it’s fate, I don’t think that works here as it just leads to a flood of low quality garbage that scares away customers in the end. Sure the review process leaves a lot to be desired, it’s slow and some assets that are clearly just ****** Unity mobile packs brought over with minimal effort make it through, but it’s still there keeping the torrent of even worse piles of garbage off of the store and maintaining *some *confidence for the buyers.

On top of this, just like steam, being on the marketplace means gaining access to a huge population of developers that wouldn’t otherwise know about your product and boosts sales. We have our assets on the Unity store, 3d Export, Creative Market and we used to be on Turbosquid and our sales are 10x higher on the UE4 Marketplace than on the rest of those markets combined. Same packs, same marketing material, 10x more sales here than everywhere else combined. I think that’s because our packs are much more suited to FPS games, which UE4 is the king of, but I definitely don’t think that accounts for a 1000% difference in sales. I’ll agree with @BarisT that Unity’s popularity is partly because of it’s asset store but I also think it’s decline in certain areas is also very much because of it’s asset store. There’s so many dev’s making so many ****** games because the asset store became a race to the bottom and is now absolutely flooded with so many ****** $5.00 packs out there and, in certain circles, Unity is synonymous with low quality. While I certainly question, and have done so publicly, a few packs that make it through, overall I think the quality bar is being kept relatively high and we hopefully aren’t going to go down that same road as Unity did.

At the end of the day I certainly would love to pay less, I would love a quicker review process and I would love reviewers that know at least as much about the engine as we do so we don’t waste time going through iterations to fix something that doesn’t need to be fixed. There’s a lot of frustration that we’ve felt because of this, and a lot of WTF moments when I see some ultra low quality **** make it through the submission process, but with all that being said there is still a decent amount going right over here, the sales are outpacing anywhere else because of what makes this marketplace different from others, and I think that needs to be kept in mind so we have some perspective before going too far down a rabid rabbit hole of vitriol

I’m not convinced as to why we can’t compare MP with Gumroad.

  1. I’d say we both agree that maybe 10% of the review process is the healthy process to keep garbage away from MP, but 90% of the process is pure waste of time, let alone the fact that garbage still make their way to the MP here and there. There are many packs on MP atm with content that are absolutely useless for game development whether because of their bad design, absence of optimization or anything else.

  2. There are tons of refunds. They just hid it from us by adding the 24 hour delay on the sales data. Remember we used to wake up every morning to see on average 5 refunds on our products. I’ve seen 11 refunds on my products in one day, there are people who have had even more. But yeah they hide the data from us and that’s the point where we started to assume there are no refunds.

So basically saying they can’t be compared with Gumroad is not true (in my opinion) as they are not doing or providing anything special in return.

If it happened Epic asked for 30% and claimed it’s due to providing 10x more exposure then sure. But they’re claiming the 30% is purely for operational costs. The high exposure we have on MP is nothing Epic is giving us, they put no efforts in giving us high exposure. The high exposure is just because it’s -the official- store and people tend to buy more from the official places and in fact Epic even kept the exposure as low as possible by not giving us any channels to communicate with our userbase.

Even if bad assets would make it to the marketplace people would end up reporting it, so damages caused I believe would be rather minor if they have a rapid response team. :rolleyes:

That aside, I don’t want it to become what Unity’s asset store is. That store has given Unity more bad reputation than it has good. There needs to be some curating and discreet guidelines to follow to some extent. But what they have now is 100% utterly unrealistic.

Seriously, declining an entire marketplace asset because one mesh was missing a SM_ prefix? Proves just how incredibly ridiculous it is. New people or new backend to handle it - I don’t care. It HAS to be fixed.

@ironbelly -

I’d be careful accusing people of resorting to vitriol. Constructive and applicable criticism is not the same thing. There are many of us who experienced serious problems with the marketplace. Some of us still are. Sure sales may be higher on here than other platforms but that’s not due to epic promoting content or communicating. As Alireza alluded to that’s due to people wanting content from an “official” source.

I imagine your sales are pretty well given the universal nature of weapons packs and the fact that you would have featured placement every week either through sales you were running or a new pack. (not criticizing you on this, just pointing out a fact). Not everyone gets that opportunity. For the past few weeks they haven’t updated the featured packs to reflect new releases. My pack was among those new releases. That affected my and a few others potential at gaining sales since no one wanted to update it like they should have, opting to instead leave the old packs up there.

prior to that Luos had a pack, among a few others, that was stuck on featured for nearly a month despite other packs being released during that time. That also deprived others of the exposure of being featured.

this is just one small but critical example of how negligence affects sellers and their performance. You’re privy to the same private seller section we are, so you know the multitude of issues sellers are facing that all haven’t even been made public. It’s insulting for you to suggest people are just being salty or critical for the sake of it when that isn’t it at all. There are serious issues going on here that affect our ability to earn a livelihood in some cases. And then we hear Tim Sweeney criticize other marketplaces that can actually justify their 30% cut with actual exposure, 21st century ecommerce tools and analytics?

I just wish updates to my product didn’t take more than two weeks. By the time my 4.17 update goes out, 4.18 will likely be out. Its stupid. Updates don’t need “Testing” by epic.

I’ve got an update that’s over a week out, and a product that I submitted before my recently released Ice shader that still hasn’t been released. These experiences are not uncommon at all.

So, I tweeted a link to this thread at TimS and he liked my tweet. I am hoping he will come by and post something in this thread :slight_smile: