Xbox Game Pass and Epic Store funding deals reportedly fizzle out

Independent game developers are having a hard time securing funding for their games, and the lucrative Xbox Game Pass and Epic Store deals are dwindling.

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Lucrative multi-million funding deals are few and far between these day, and indie devs are reportedly having a tough time securing exclusivity contracts with the Epic Store or Microsoft's Xbox Game Pass subscription.

Xbox Game Pass and Epic Store funding deals reportedly fizzle out 1

No one wants to fund a game right now--or at least that's what you might believe. The games industry is currently going through a big course correction that's led to many thousands of layoffs and intense budget cutting at top firms. Games companies have clearly chosen to serve capital instead of labor as the market contracts against multiple stress points.

Before recent events, indie devs could potentially sign a deal with the Epic Store to help fund their projects, or at the very least, break even.New reports indicate that the doors are closing on these opportunities. PC Gamer spoke with two prominent indie developers--Casey Yano from Slay the Spider studio Mega Crit, and Red Hook Studios' Chris Bourassa, who directed Darkest Dungeon--about the topic.

"I talked to at least five small teams during GDC, like 35 people and under, and they're like: Cuts, cuts, cuts, funding canceled, talks that were going on for a year, canceled," Yano told PC Gamer.

Epic offered a minimum guarantee with its exclusives to boot. It's easy to see why these deals have been cut back, though: the Epic Store has yet to turn a profit, and total losses for the storefront may have exceeded $700 million by the end of 2023, depending on which model that Epic chose to execute.

Read Also: Epic Games mobile store could significantly boost revenues, increase profitability odds

The details of Microsoft's Game Pass deals are more guarded, but details from the FTC v Microsoft trial reveal some specifics. For example, game developers could earn bonuses if Game Pass subscribers play more of their games; Microsoft ties performance metrics to extra payouts once a game is offered on the service.

Game Pass has also broken the 34 million subscribers milestone, but Microsoft did say that these numbers included previous Xbox LIVE subscribers that were re-classified as Game Pass subscribers (remember that Xbox LIVE has been renamed to Xbox Game Pass Core).

But with both companies laying off hundreds of workers while simultaneously trying to fund new content initiatives and operate a storefront, these incentive programs may have been jeopardized, or at the very least downwardly adjusted.

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Derek joined the TweakTown team in 2015 and has since reviewed and played 1000s of hours of new games. Derek is absorbed with the intersection of technology and gaming, and is always looking forward to new advancements. With over six years in games journalism under his belt, Derek aims to further engage the gaming sector while taking a peek under the tech that powers it. He hopes to one day explore the stars in No Man's Sky with the magic of VR.

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