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Discussion in 'General Discussion' started by ivyj813, May 15, 2019.
Anyone else tired of paying 30% fees. What can one do with this?
Sell somewhere else.
Live with it. That 30% fee is getting you a store with a massive audience and distribution taken care of entirely for you. It's far more preferable to the days where we had mail-in order requests and had to pay to ship disks. I guarantee you it cost at least the same amount of money.
in any case, unity could add smaller % for subscribers as a nice bonus.
I'll let you play that idea out in your head to see how well it would go.
I would love to see lower rates on Asset subscriptions. I would subscribe to a couple of assets on a monthly basis in exchange for proper support and stable development (publisher gets more stable, monthly income as well). And from those monthly subscriptions Unity could afford lower percentage as well.
Give all your stuff away for free! 30% of zero is just zero. You'll never have to pay them ever again! Also, I've heard it's a great way to increase your sales.
Are you talking about the Asset Store or something else?
Start your own store then. Oh wait, paying 30% on your sales to the existing store with existing customers is much cheaper? Who knew?
Asset Store publishers get 70% from their earnings.
@OP You could additionally sell on itch.io or via Shopify, Payhip or Gumroad (though they also want a small fee). You could also use a combination of WordPress + WooCommerce if you're fancy. There is nothing wrong with using other marketplaces. Just make sure that all your assets are priced the same as in the Asset Store.
It might be preferable to a decades old business model but that doesn't mean the standard 30% stores keep charging is preferable now. That % needs to evolve or be adjusted already.
Have the associated costs I mentioned changed in any way though? A quick check of Amazon's Cloud Storage shows that the cost of storing the data alone is $0.023 to $0.021 per gigabyte depending on how much you're storing. Transferring is $0.09 to $0.05 per gigabyte depending on total used.
Shadow of the Tomb Raider is approximately 25 GB. At the cheapest cost of $0.021 storing the game would cost $0.525 per month, and transferring it would cost $1.25 every single download.
I definitely agree that the cost could come down, and that Steam is most likely getting a far better pricing deal than this, but I bet it can't come down as much as people seem to think it could. Epic's 18% is most likely the lowest but it's hard to say as they have alternative sources of income like their own games and their own game engine.
One thing for sure changed, is a volume. Means these online stores are massive now.
Hence cheaper maintenance per server unit.
And we also progressed technologically, and in terms of power consumption (increased efficiency).
Yes, but with a larger audience comes a need for more hardware which offsets the gains in per-server performance and efficiency. I choose pricing from Amazon Cloud Storage precisely because they are massive to show that the costs are substantial even with a large presence.
That said there are ways to reduce costs within their service. ACS has infrequent access tiers that could be utilized for games with very low downloads per month. Cost for them is $0.0125 per gigabyte or $0.3125 for Shadow of the Tomb Raider. A 32% reduction compared to the cost of the standard access tier.
This is the way I see it... no one else is offering a better deal, literally Asset Store is by a large margin the best deal out there, in terms of % fee vs traffic.
Even if another store offers 1%, they don't have the traffic, at least not yet, and that'd take time and money, lots of it... so that's what you're paying for! You're saving yourself a lot more time and money than the 30% they're taking... I know it's true, because if it wasn't the case you'd simply start your own store, and deal with the costs.
To make Unity reduce that 30% is not possible because there's no actual incentive at all, for Unity to do that right now, nor is there a monopoly or anything bad. It is what it is.
I have in the past suggested that there be tiers like 15%, 30%, 50% but Unity doesn't have any incentive really.
not charted, have to browse or search for it
charted but not featured
charted with regular features
There would be a cooldown on how frequently authors can hop between tiers but it allows the author control over the business with Unity.
But as said above, there's not really enough reason for Unity add work for themselves yet. The 50% is an option someday for the bigger assets, especially if a proper subscription format arrives for asset authors. But now? No.
The 30% isn't really to pay for the cost of delivering your game though (it does of course, but that's not where they arrived at 30%). What you're really paying for is access to existing customers of the platform. Same goes for Steam, Google Play, etc. Even if your product is found via your own self promotion, turning marketing into a purchase is a lot easier when the customer is already a user of the delivery platform.
I'm much more likely to purchase a Unity asset off of the Unity Asset Store than some other platform for several reasons. The purchased asset goes into my existing list of assets I can download any time. I don't have to remember where I got it from, because it is the same place I got the majority of my assets. I already understand the license the asset is delivered under, and don't need to play fake lawyer reading some other license to see if it is compatible with my project. And I routinely visit the Unity Asset Store anyway, so next time I go there I will probably look into assets I recently had an interest in that I heard about from wherever else it was mentioned.
Is that all worth 30%? Well, that just comes down to if you can get a better deal somewhere else. Not just on the percent, but on actually delivering purchases. If you skip Unity's store and put in some some other asset store that charges only 15%, but you move only 70% of the volume that you would have on the Unity Asset Store, then your 15% is actually a worse deal than Unity's 30%. So yeah in that case the 30% is actually worth it.
Exactly, you're paying for the customers. So That's why my model above can work, because the % is tied to how many customers are going to be exposed to it.
30% has been the industry default for some years now. Including things like Steam, Apple and IOS.
There is no basis for this other than I think Apple started on this percent. It seemed to work. And others couldn't charge more or they'd look bad. They didn't want to charge less seeing as it seemed Apple was getting away with it so it seemed like a good value. And if they went in less they'd never be able to bring it back up again. Also if they charged less it kind of gives the impression of an inferior service to Apple. So the 30% has just kind of stuck.
But I think the percentages will come down in the next few years with companies like Epic entering the scene.
There's no real way to tell what is the "correct" percentage. One could take the money it took to build the Steam/Asset store and divide it by the weighted number of every potential developer over it's predicted lifetime. And the percentage would no doubt come out much less than 30%.
Nothing stopping you building your own store. I wish I had 10 years ago! Plenty of cloud based platforms now to make it easier.
I wouldn't applaud to that. Unless you like the hidden fees, inferior, next to non-existent services. It's easy to keep your % down if you don't care about your users and you keep your support and development also low.
What bad experience have you had with Epic? Do they not take care of Marketplace customers?
30% is way too much. Like @mountainstream said, it seems to be an arbitrary figure that was chosen when there were no other fish in the sea.
All the value that marketplaces provide is directly dependent on competition. Just because a market can provide X and Y doesn't mean that it's worth Z dollars according to some absolute metric.
I must admit, it's hard to tell if Epic are telling the truth when they say that something can be cheaper, because they might just be throwing Fortnite money at it. But 30% intuitively seems like too much.
I've sold 107 copies of my asset packs over the last few years. By my estimates, that's approximately 107 copies more than I would have sold had I sold the assets myself without using the Asset Store.
I won't buy Unity assets outside the Asset Store. It would take a lot to get me to buy a PC game outside Steam. I greatly prefer to buy my console games digitally. I know I can save money by buying them elsewhere, but the convenience of having all my stuff in one place is worth it to me. And there's absolutely value in having access to customers like me.
You don't have to like it. You don't have to put up with it. You can not sell your asset on the Asset Store, your PC game on Steam, or your Android app on Google Play. And you'll never be exactly sure how many sales you missed out on, but I have to imagine there'd be quite a sting when you discover the asset/game/app painfully similar to yours that is on the main storefronts, because it's guaranteed to be selling more copies than yours is.
This is business, folks. Once you're in the position of power, then you can negotiate the better deal.
Pro tip. If you want to be rich. Don't make games. Make game stores.
I do not have any problem with EPIC, I simply do not use any of their shops at all. I have an account and I won't close it, but only because of the Engine. Although I don't see myself to move completely there or even start a private project on it, but for the purpose to keep up my C++ knowledge and discover/keep up with techniques is good enough.
I decided though to not have any other relations with them. I don't "buy" the free stuff they offer, I don't buy anything on their shops (neither games nor assets). And I wasn't talk about the Marketplace, I was talking about the Store. Although I have a gut feeling that they invest the same amount of attention into both.
But, if we're only talking about Asset Store and Marketplace, the % does not matter. These two stores aren't competing directly. So having a lower % on Marketplace does not have a great effect on Asset Store. Even if the Marketplace grow, does not matter. Currently it's too Unreal-centric shop to be a competition. If EPIC opens it up and sell universal assets and grow exponentially, then maybe it can cause ripples, but I doubt it. With all of its shortcomings, Asset Store is too convenient for Unity users to move seriously to buy elsewhere. AS publishers will sell on it as long as they want to reach Unity users. These shops are monopoly in their own engine-related space.
Cept fortnite made more money for epic than all their years in business combined. Within a year. Absolutely absurd money.
Welcome to business sir/madam. 30% is fine, it might be an outdated percentage and weighted in some markets, but it's pretty standard across the board. I've done a few things, but most recently I had an Amazon store. I loved every day of it and if you're FBA then Amazon is for sure going to take a third of the item price. Notice I said price because you still have to pay for product, rule of thumb is 30%; this means that a third goes to Amazon, a third goes to whatever supplier, and a third goes to you. Well, it goes to the company and then the company buys ink, paper, boxes, dunder, bubble wrap, tape, heat guns, plastic wrap, so many other things including more product. I get it though, it can seem unfair at first. Just think though, it takes a lot of money run a thing like that; reliability and the trust of customers is never free, take joy that you can pay a small fee instead of years to earn the public's attention. Don't let it get you down, just know that your competition is probably doing the same and that you are not alone.
Edit: I forgot to finish up. They are selling your stuff for you; I sold items that I didn't technically make and I made ~33%. They do a good job, pay your employees.
No, there were many fish, who took 70%. Apple reversed that, which caused a lot of uproar at the time, because everyone figured they were losing money on the store in order to sell more iPhones. Apple said the store was break-even, at least near the beginning. If you think you can run a store taking less than 30% and make money, go for it, and let us know how it goes. My guess is that you could get it down a little, but not a lot, if you expect to be sustainable in the long run (and don't have other sources to subsidize it).
Well, I'm guessing too, so all I'm saying is that 30% seems wrong.
But let's put it like this: let's say you make something like a game. Then you decide to sell it on your own website. Let's say that the labor cost of creating the game and managing your own online sales is exactly a 50/50 split.
Now you want to scale both of these things. Does it seem intuitive that you would only be able to scale the online sales component such that it costs 60% of the original cost (from 50% to 30%) no matter how many different games are in your store? Given how standardized online sales is these days compared to making games, it doesn't seem right to me.
That's a very simple model, sure, but I'd be curious to know exactly what warrants 30% of the revenue of a game when you're operating at a large scale. I would say curation is the main thing, and that's definitely going to be substantial. Site maintenance too I suppose, and customer support (though a well organized, automated system should reduce this greatly).
Remember, Apple said they were breaking even at 30%. And everyone else thought they must be losing money.
Humble's cheapest option is 5% plus transaction fees, and Epic's split is 12%. I doubt that either of those are losing money.
Apple's 30% shocked people at the time, but do keep in mind that the base costs for running this kind of thing were far higher a decade ago than they are now.
Edit: To clarify, the Humble option I'm talking about is the Humble Widget. It takes care of distribution and of transaction processing, but it doesn't give you any exposure. (I have no idea what the split is if you get on their storefront.)
When was this? I'm guessing that at the time the mobile market for games was much smaller.
Ebay takes 10%, for example, and I don't think anyone would say that are a failed business. What's the big difference between selling stuff on ebay and selling games online? Apart from curation, I can't spot much of anything that's not scalable - for example, most issues can be solved by refunds which are very straightforward and automatable.
Ebay doesn't produce a physical product or have a massive R/D department. Ebay is also not so friendly to sellers and honestly kind of slummy. Having said that, Amazon is a lower percentage too, if you do everything yourself. It comes down to a marketing thing-can you sell more units than Unity? I've noticed some of the more business minded asset creators starting up their own website platform for sales, like said you just don't charge a different price. They're probably on the right track offering both. Also, if I buy an asset from Unity then it is always right there in my little my assets button, no remembering some obscure name or web address to find or update my asset. Yeah man, pay your employees.
Ebay does not have to distribute the goods. They just provide a tool for buyers and sellers to list things and find each other, then handle the transaction.
Steam has to do that, and then transmit the game to the buyer. They're also committing to storing the game and making it available to the buyer for an indefinite period of time. So they definitely have costs that Ebay don't.
Yeah, storage would be a cost. SSD storage can be relatively expensive, and increases with the size of the store. Still, it's not a huge cost.
Why does an online store need an R&D department. What value is coming out of it for sellers?
OK, so what's the quantifiable difference? Like I said, refunds solve most problems with digital products, and the idea of a refund period is kind of standard now.
What does Amazon charge for that you have the option of doing yourself?
"Why does an online store need an R&D department. What value is coming out of it for sellers?"
Why does Apple have an R/D? To make more S***ty phones, since Steve Jobs died.
"OK, so what's the quantifiable difference? Like I said, refunds solve most problems with digital products, and the idea of a refund period is kind of standard now.
What does Amazon charge for that you have the option of doing yourself?"
Besides platform integration, selling it, running dedicated ad campaigns, handling customer support, dealing with updates, making sure everything is legal, storing, shipping, online payment processing, special deal with UPS giving you the cheapest shipping in America to any of their thousands of warehouses across the country that they choose based on years of analytical data ran through advanced AI systems to guess where millions of unrelated items are most likely to be bought from based by city/state, thus insuring the shortest possible shipping time for my customers? They have really good seller account support.
Edit: I forgot, being able to sell something through an Alexa is pretty cool.
So I guess Valve needs to match this. So they can
- remove all the forums
- publisher features
- majority of library functions
- entire friends and chat functionality
- achievement system and all those functions
- entire networking, matchmaking servers and systems
- close steamworks as is
- remove all the community features
- remove the shopping cart
- introduce extra fee in certain countries
- buy some games to be exclusive on Steam
Portals/websites/app store are selling access to markets/eyeballs. The captive audience they have is the product and where the value is. The value of that is huge. Without these marketplaces the total number of sales in any industry would drop to next to nothing. And it takes a ton of capital and time to build these markets. Talking about their worth in terms of cost per sale or daily costs is missing the big picture and where the real value is.
30% is just kind of a defacto standard right now for game related marketplaces. It's kind of a baseline, because a good number of companies also take in substantial ad revenue.
There are a lot of features that look snazzy, but they don't have big ongoing costs, besides being very scalable.
Basically anything that doesn't involve a person is something that won't cost a large amount in a large-scale marketplace like Steam.
So we're ignoring the fact that Epic is working on a bunch of that stuff (which costs) and that at least some of it has in fact already emerged? Also keep in mind that Steam doesn't have those things just because Valve are nice, Steam has those things because it helps Steam gain and keep customers... ie: they are profitable. Also keep in mind that features similar to those are often provided as a part of other free services, suggesting that their costs may not be especially high.
You don't have to like Epic or their store, but lets not let irrationality devalue the discussion.
I keep forgetting to mention things. Last time I played, Ebay had a similar service to Amazon's and it was round-about the same percentage charge. So yeah, moot point. *if my information is still correct.
There is no value in this discussion. A bunch of people are shaking their fists towards some companies. Nothing more. There is no ratio in this talk at all.
There is no single person in this discussion who actually have any concrete clue what kind of costs Valve or EPIC operate in conjunction with their stores, no single person has any clue what costs arise for them because of development and/or services. Also have no clue what margin they have. So there is no real meaning behind the "too much" or "looks too much". And even they were, means nothing, it's the beauty of capitalism: take it or leave it, you can go to EPIC and feed them with your money if you're happy with them. Valve does not have to do anything.
I guess they will step up and do something when they feel they actually threatened by something.
And no, I won't accept any word from Tim's mouth after he repeatedly lied to me (to us). I'm pretty confident that they're supporting their store endeavor from their bottomless cash box called Fortnite. And I'm not angry at them for it, they pulled that off quite good. I just hate and I think it's kinda' sad when people believe in a word he says and accept him as the savior of PC Gaming. ROFL.
They take 30% at close to zero risk. Its like the IT consultants broker market, they have very few employed brokers but they receive 5 to 15% from the consultants who use them. Close to zero risk since the income outmatch the expense tenfold. Also these brokers lower the prices because they do not care as much what price they land for the consultant.
I agree there's no value in the first shaking. I think there's definitely value in discussion of where value arises in supply chains and other sub-topics in here.
So then... how 'bout Humble and that 5% figure?
You mean 99% of their stuff is actually Steam keys and no support services [edit: just to clarify I mean services, not technical or payment support] of any kind? And I really admire them nonetheless. The idea of DRM-free and cross-platform should be industry standard.
Yes, the Widget supports Steam keys, but it also provides storage and distribution of its own, for 5%.
It's always worth talking about things to the extent that you can understand them.
Epic have claimed that 30% is way beyond merely profitable. Since this affects us as game developers and asset sellers, why not let's talk about it instead of blindly accepting the norm?
That's kind of the whole point of the discussion, assuming that Unity actually pay any attention to the forums. You forgot a key concept of capitalism - information. Customers hardly ever benefit when everybody just accepts what's going on.
I think it's a bit weird how Epic's view of things coincides with the explosion of their piggy bank, but that doesn't make it not worth talking about.
When I started out in mobile dev I could only get deals with publishers to get onto websites or phone operators stores and the best deal I had was 60% to them. So yeah, 30% seems pretty fair to me considering the actual store front you are on and the potential eyeballs it has on it, be it Steam or Asset Store.
Many people complain about Epic exclusivity because they prefer to use Steam and I can relate to this because I prefer to use Unity Asset Store for my asset purchases even if the cost is a little more than other stores because I like to have the convenience of having my assets in one place with direct access from the editor.
There's nothing wrong with charging for value that your competitors can't or won't provide. But there's nothing wrong with competition that drives prices down, either. Both are part of the capitalist concept, it's not like one is better than the other. As a customer in this case, I'll take a price that's as low as possible while still making it profitable for the marketplace to provide me with the value I need. That might be 30%, but then again it might not.
GOG does 30%, and they didn't make any money last year.
Yeah, for a small moment I thought he was going to close up shop.
As a customer I tend to take convenience over cost to a certain degree. So in the case of unity's asset store I find it very convenient to know I can grab my assets from the editor anytime I want. In the past I've made purchases for peoples website and had email download links and then computers die and you lose evidence of purchase or simply forget about these assets.
As a gamer (which I dont do so much now) I don't really care where it comes from. I do prefer Steam but if its cheaper elsewhere I'll get it from that store.
As a seller I'd sell where ever I damn well could provided I felt the time was worth the reward.