Bulletins

Epic's PC game store is catching up to Steam, but still has a ways to go

The Epic Game Store now has 58 million monthly active users, which is just below half of Valve's Steam.

An image of the Epic Game Store logo.

Epic says its PC app store now has 58 million monthly active users.

Image: Epic Games

Epic's Game Store now has 58 million monthly active users, the company announced on Thursday as part of an announcement on its new self-publishing tools.


That means the store has nearly doubled since 2019, when Epic said it had 32 million users. But its growth is also slowing considerably; in January of this year, Epic said it had 56 million monthly active users by the end of 2020. And those figures still pale in comparison to the giant of the space: Valve said in its 2020 review that Steam peaked at more than 120 million monthly active users last year, which marked a record for the platform. If Epic is ever to surpass Steam, it will either take a massive change in strategy to accelerate its growth or years of steady investment to come close to Valve's user base.

Still, Epic's growth is significant for the game industry. The fight between Epic and Valve in many ways mirrors the Fortnite creator's fight with other store owners like Apple and Google. While the PC isn't a locked-down ecosystem quite like iOS, Valve's Steam remains the dominant distribution platform for PC games, and Valve's 30% commission has been in place for nearly two decades. When Epic launched its store in 2018, it dropped its cut to 12% to attract more game makers and try and shift the revenue sharing status quo.

The strategy has worked, though it has cost Epic a fortune in the process. Epic now has more than 650 games and apps in its store and through its aggressive discounting and free games program has attracted tens of millions of people, despite early backlash from the PC gaming community over Epic's use of exclusivity contracts. Microsoft has since followed Epic in reducing its cut for games sold through the Microsoft Store on Windows.

Valve, meanwhile, introduced a variable revenue share for Steam a month before the Epic Game Store launch that reduces the cut it takes as developers sell more games, in a bid to keep big game makers from pulling their libraries and going elsewhere. That's helped bring big publishers back to Steam, including Microsoft, EA and Ubisoft.

Epic shows no signs of slowing down its fight for the PC crown. In emails and documents revealed as part of its lawsuit against Apple, Epic has put in place a multi-year plan, dubbed "Project Moonshot," to grow the Epic Game Store to be larger than Steam and to account for half or more of all PC game revenue by 2024. That includes spending hundreds of millions of dollars more on exclusive games, free game promotions and other publishing incentives to convince developers to release games on its store and even through Epic's own publishing label.

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