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Calculated: from Steam sales price to your revenue

Your games are listed on Steam for a certain price. But when a sale happens, how is that money distributed across you, Valve, and VAT costs? And where can you see exactly how much money you can expect Valve to pay out at the end of the day (month)? We looked at $35 million in sales data to provide the ultimate overview on how the sales price is put together.

The overview

There are two main components that make up the difference between the sales price and what you get from Valve: Valve’s share and VAT (or Value-Added Tax).

Given the listed sales price is 100%, on average:

  • Valve’s share is 27.2%
  • The VAT is 9.3%
  • Your payout is 63.5%

About the data

We calculated these figures using $35 million in sales data from Steam Data Suite clients in February 2024. We included discounted sales, which didn’t impact the findings, but excluded free-to-play games.

So, why is Valve’s share not exactly 30%? It’s calculated after deducting VAT, making the 30% effectively a smaller part of the whole gross sales price.

The amount of VAT can vary strongly based on the geography of your player base. For example in the Nordic countries, VAT is around 25%, while in North America it’s closer to 5%. The varying rates of VAT across different countries is what leads to the 9.3% worldwide average.

What's in it for me?

With the regular 30/70 royalty split, selling a $10 game lands you $6.35 in paid-out revenue.

Keep in mind though, that some data reported in Steamworks includes another amount to be deducted: refunds/chargebacks. These are sales that happened, and then got reverted. This means all related revenue needs to be deducted.

From the same data as above, we found that 8.6% of all sales result in a refund or chargeback. That’s a significant chunk of reported revenue that doesn’t make it to your bank balance.

How do I see what I'm actually earning in Steamworks?

In Steam Data Suite we have a specific report to show you net and “true net” revenue: the money that Valve pays out to you.

So, how do you get this number out of Steamworks? The “Total revenue” number on the start page of Steamworks is the basis. This number includes the mentioned VAT and Valve’s share, and doesn’t deduce refunds/chargebacks.

Taking this into account, we found that, on average, 58% of the amount listed here is paid out to you. The more returns you have, the bigger the difference between the reported gross number, and what you receive “true net.”

Keep in mind that the money transferred to you is likely still subject to local income, profit, and/or company taxes. Then there may be a revenue share reserved for (co-)creators or loan/investor paybacks.

As to what’s left: don’t spend it all in one place.