Epic Games CEO Tim Sweeney continues to push for more transparency and unity across the various game stores. This time, he had some harsh words about Valve’s Steamworks API and how it limits multiplayer features.

Tim Sweeney calls Valve's Steamworks API a real problem for the games industry

Why does Tim Sweeney think Steamworks is a real problem?

Following the launch of self-publishing tools on the Epic Games Store, Tim Sweeney elaborated on the platform’s requirements for multiplayer games in an interview with PC Gamer.

Epic Games requires a multiplayer title to support crossplay with other PC stores. The company offers its own free solution for it called Epic Online Services, but developers can use their own system. They just have to make sure that all PC users can play together.

When it comes to Steam, Sweeney has some issues with its Steamworks API. He thinks that Valve “has created a real problem for the industry” with it. The reason is that this service works only with Steam, and devs don’t have to enable crossplay with other stores.

They have a classic lock-in strategy where they build these services that only work with their store, and they use the fact that they have the majority market share in order to encourage everybody to ship games that have a broken experience in other stores. And we were bitten by this early on with a number of multiplayer games coming to the Epic Games Store.

Tim Sweeney

CEO of Epic Games

According to Sweeney, this led to players feeling like many multiplayer titles were broken on the Epic Games Store. The same applied to the days when Call of Duty launched on the Windows Store and allowed users to only play with other Windows Store players. “And that is not how PC should work,” according to Sweeney.

As pointed out by PC Gamer, many multiplayer games on Steam already require separate accounts or only partly use the Steamworks API. So the limitation on Valve’s side results in companies introducing their own friends lists or requiring accounts like Ubisoft Connect.

What was 2022 like for the Epic Games Store?

Yesterday, Epic Games also shared some EGS data for 2022.

  • The Epic Games Store gave away 99 free games, with an average increase in peak concurrent users per game of 25 times their all-time records.
  • 626 new titles were brought to the platform last year, bringing the total count to 1,548.
  • Players spent $355 million on third-party apps, up 18% year-over-year.
  • Including Epic’s own games, total revenue amounted to $820 million, down 2% year-over-year.

  • The Epic Games Store reached 230 million registered PC users, up 36 million from 2021.
  • In 2022, the platform’s peak DAU was 34.3 million, and its peak MAU was 68 million.
  • Genshin Impact, Rocket League, Tiny Tina’s Wonderlands, GTA V, and Fortnite were the top 5 highest-grossing titles on the Epic Games Store last year.
  • The list of other best-selling games includes the Final Fantasy VII remake, Red Dead Redemption II, Sifu, Cyberpunk 2077, Valorant, and Dying Light 2 Stay Human.

Got a story you'd like to share? Reach us at [email protected]