Back when games came on CD or DVD the store overhead was factored into the game cost. Now with Steam et al, the online stores have taken over the cost to their own enrichment. Steam is worth several billion dollars which suggests gouging up there with Apple.

Steam wants some 35% and Apple wants a bit more to offer games. Apple has been able to compartmentalize the platform and exclude others. Microsoft is also discovering that high fees for access to an online store are also excessive. Unfortunately there is little recourse for consumers who pay disproportionately more for games.

Steam has to contend with the open market with Windows. In the last few years several publishers have opened their own stores and game loaders. At last count here are now at least 8 loaders and several more web based stores.

Here in Canada the competition act comes into focus with the abuse of a dominant position. So far nobody has litigated this matter adequately which is to our disgust.

This makes game development is much more challenging venture. The high cost vs whether a given title will do well in the market. With so many games competing the vast majority do not earn a lot of money.

So does the cost of online stores matter much. For successful games it’s a big hit on the bottom line. Valve allows developers to use their development assets for new titles at no cost which makes it easier for independent developers.

The Unity engine is an al-la-carte development package that is .NET based. Unity has assets for sale wich can make the cost of an independant title rather expensive fast.