Originally Posted by Woundingchaney
Everything you have listed is virtually no work from an infrastructure standpoint and if it is then Valve is very far behind the times. I would imagine they are running scripts for everything and I seriously doubt its costing them much at all to host titles on an individual level. Literally everything should be pre-scripted and spinning up the infrastructure to host new titles shouldnt be difficult, particularly given how long Steam has been available. Everything from the sales interface, the forum, the advertising, the store site, etc should be scripted.Its also important to note that Valve may provide dev tools (steamworks) for things like mutiplayer, but its up to the developers to implement them (I would also imagine Valve charges for support/troubleshooting on this as well). If Valve is providing dedicated servers for multiplayer to publishers I can guarantee there is a charge for that as well. Cloud saves shouldnt be much more than a text file either. Literally all of the Steam aspects that are standardized are up to the developers to implement in the game or make compatible.
It doesn't matter if it's "scripted". Maintaining a massive global infrastructure is a lot of work. Making everything play nicely together and work seamlessly is a ton of work. It costs a lot of money to pay the developers to develop and maintain those "simple scripts". Nothing about maintaining a massive system like Steam is simple, easy or cheap.
Look at all the services Steam provides developers:
Automatic Localization Support (the correct language of a game is downloaded to the correct region)
Automatic Region-Based Pricing
Global Digital Distribution
Ability to Gift Games
Screenshot/video clip sharing
and probably a ton of other features I'm forgetting or don't even know about. All of those would be a massive undertaking for a studio to implement on their own. Valve handles all of that.
Even the legacy physical retail channel was not considerably more expensive then the 30% that Valve used to charge. Generally in physical distribution for a 60 usd game, 15 went to the retailer, 4 went to distribution and manufacturing, then some fee for return/unsold games (PC games dont have to pay royalties to manufacturers like Sony or MS). Really 30% of a given sale is a bit cheaper than a traditional physical distribution model, but that doesnt mean that Valve wasnt turning a major profit on a per game basis.
You are way off on your numbers. With traditional disc based games, the publisher kept around 60% of the wholesale cost of the game (as in what the store pays for it). This means the developer (not the publisher or the store) would only net between 20-30% of the total retail price of the game. Steam letting developers keep 70% of the total retail cost was a HUGE change.
additionally publishers didnt take 70-80% of titles they were under 50% on average.
Maybe if it was an in-house developer owned by the publisher, or a mega developer like Dice or Infinity Ward. Not for smaller guys.