On one hand, I’m surprised that a genius like Tim, who is a great programmer, would try to pull this sort of argument in public: the way that Epic and Valve calculate gross revenue and attribute taxes and payment costs are quite a world apart, so comparing the percentile share of two different platforms is pretty meaningless.
On another, I’m not really surprised, because Tim here joins a legion of other geniuses who, having excelled in one field, then work really hard to destroy their reputations in another, where they have little clue about the ethics or substance of the matter.
Consider this: EGS does not have presence in China and struggles with regional pricing, while for Valve non-US and non-EU audiences make, perhaps, close to 50% of all revenue. And where the market is different, the payment options are different, too: from Russia’s QIWI wallets to China’s e-money.
The cost of processing such payments on Steam is currently invisible to its consumers and its developers. When a user in Russia adds 1,000 roubles to their Steam wallet, that means 1,000 roubles on their account – whether the payment cost is 1% or 12% to the platform.
Seeing Tim call Valve to drop their platform’s share to 12% – that would make Steam’s current modus operandi in Russia, China, Vietnam, etc. a net-negative – is like seeing a hotel selling its rooms without any breakfast options call on its competitor (that has breakfast included) to price-match.
It’s either ignorant (i.e. Tim doesn’t even know how Steam operates, financially) or malicious (i.e. Tim knows that what he asks for is impossible, and still asks for it in the public space, acting like a billionaire-provocateur).
Either way, it seems that Tim continues to spend the goodwill that he earned with his previous achievements, building more risk into the possible scenarios where Epic might stumble and he will really need what he would have spent by then.