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.

Protocol | Enterprise

How Cloudflare thinks it can become ‘the fourth major public cloud’

With its new low-cost R2 cloud storage service, Cloudflare is jumping into direct competition with the AWS service that launched the cloud computing revolution.

Cloudflare will not charge data-egress fees for customers using R2, taking direct aim at the fees AWS charges developers to move data out of its widely popular S3 storage service.

Photo: Martina Albertazzi/Bloomberg via Getty Images

Cloudflare is ready to launch a new cloud object storage service that promises to be cheaper than the established alternatives, a step the company believes will catapult it into direct competition with AWS and other cloud providers.

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Tom Krazit

Tom Krazit ( @tomkrazit) is Protocol's enterprise editor, covering cloud computing and enterprise technology out of the Pacific Northwest. He has written and edited stories about the technology industry for almost two decades for publications such as IDG, CNET, paidContent, and GeekWire, and served as executive editor of Gigaom and Structure.

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Michele Morelli, Foursquare
As SVP of Marketing, Michele is responsible for overseeing the brand strategy, communications, and product and performance marketing of Foursquare’s apps and enterprise products. Prior to joining Foursquare, Michele held several senior leadership positions with wide-ranging responsibilities at AOL, Toluna, Citibank and Yahoo!.
Power

VR pioneer The Void is plotting a comeback

Assets of the location-based VR startup have been acquired by a former investor, who plans a relaunch with key former team members.

The Void's New York outpost closed during the pandemic. Now, the company is planning a comeback under new ownership.

Photo: The Void

Location-based VR pioneer The Void may rise from the ashes next year: A former investor has acquired key assets of the defunct startup and is now looking to relaunch it with key team members, Protocol has learned. The company is said to be actively fundraising, and is getting ready to start hiring additional talent soon.

The Void's patents and trademarks were recently acquired by Hyper Reality Partners, a company headed by former OneWeb CEO Adrian Steckel, who also used to be an investor in and board member of The Void. Hyper Reality Partners is actively fundraising for a relaunch of the VR startup, and is said to have raised as much as $20 million already, according to an industry insider.

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Protocol | Workplace

A new McKinsey study shows that women do more emotional labor at work

The 2021 Women in the Workplace report from McKinsey found that women are far more likely than men to help their teams manage time and work-life balance and provide emotional support.

Senior leaders who identify as women were 60% more likely to provide emotional support to their teams and 26% more likely to help team members navigate work/life challenges, according to the report.

Photo: Luis Alvarez via Getty Images

Over the last year, emotional support, time management skills and work-life balance have become drastically more important and difficult in the workplace — and women leaders were far more likely than men to step in and do that work for their teams, according to the latest iteration of McKinsey and LeanIn.org's annual Women in the Workplace report.

Senior leaders who identify as women were 60% more likely to provide emotional support to their teams, 24% more likely to ensure their teams' workload is manageable and 26% more likely to help team members navigate work/life challenges, according to the report. In addition, about one in five women senior leaders spend a substantial amount of time on DEI work that is not central to their job, compared to less than one in 10 male senior leaders.

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Anna Kramer

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Amazon needs New World’s launch to be a success

New World arrives Tuesday. Whether it flops could determine the future of Amazon Games.

New World launches on Tuesday, after four delays. It could be Amazon's first big hit.

Image: Amazon

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If the game succeeds, New World will mark a rare success for a technology company in the gaming space. With the exception of Microsoft, which entered the console game industry nearly two decades ago, tech firms have tried time and again to use their engineering talent and resources to crack the code behind making successful video games. Almost every attempt has failed, but Amazon is the closest to having a hit on its hands. If it flops, we could see Amazon's gaming ambitions go the way of Google's.

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Nick Statt
Nick Statt is Protocol's video game reporter. Prior to joining Protocol, he was news editor at The Verge covering the gaming industry, mobile apps and antitrust out of San Francisco, in addition to managing coverage of Silicon Valley tech giants and startups. He now resides in Rochester, New York, home of the garbage plate and, completely coincidentally, the World Video Game Hall of Fame. He can be reached at nstatt@protocol.com.
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