Even though Epic haven't wasted any time, or resources for that matter, in making their Game Store as competitive as possible, analysts seem to agree that Steam will remain the dominant digital distribution store in the upcoming year.
Of course, Epic are not the only company to go for a piece of Steam's pie. Discord recently joined the party as well, although you could say that Epic's Game Store does have more than a few aces up its sleeve.
Nevertheless, Dr. Serkan Toto, CEO of Tokyo-based Kantan Games claims to be "very skeptical about the efforts of Discord, Epic, or Tencent to set up game stores." He thinks Steam will not get a serious challenger in 2019 and that "their new competitors will not pick up steam in 2019 or anytime after."
Granted, it would be unreasonable to expect Epic or Discord to usurp a platform that's been in the epicentre of gaming since forever, and to do it in a year no less, but Steam remains the ultimate goal and in this case, a metric of progress for each of the newcomers.
Piers Harding-Rolls from IHS Markit doesn't think Steam has nothing to fear in 2019, even if Epic's emergence as a competitor is likely to force them to make some adjustments to their business model.
Epic's Store charges developers 12 per cent, which is quite a bit more generous than Steam's 30 per cent. This difference is likely to be more noticeable for indie developers and Harding-Rolls seems to agree, claiming that "the biggest changes will impact the commercial conditions for developers and publishers using these distribution channels which is positive for the industry as a whole."
Despite that, Harding-Rolls doesn't really see stores by Epic and Discord as a vehicle of growth for the market. Quite the contrary, he thinks that their efforts will prove to be "cannibalistic to the market", even if they may have a few beneficial effects along the way.
Steam has had no shortage of competitors, none of which managed to seriously endanger Gabe's dominion and according to analysts, this is unlikely to change in 2019. Too bad the same forecast applies to Half-Life 3.