It seems Xsolla has found a way to pay for its new $30 million investment fund. The company has started to include a default tip to themselves for all payments processed by its systems. This is in addition to their established fees for service, including those charged to publishers and developers.
As the merchant of record for major gaming entities like Valve, Twitch, Ubisoft, Epic Games, and Nexon, Xsolla’s claim that the “majority” of free-to-play games use their products may be only mildly exaggerated. Should the gaming industry continue to bring in revenues comparable to 2016’s $99 billion, that would mean that this tip scheme has Xsolla attempting to lay claim to over 17 billion dollars a year. For comparison’s sake, Paypal’s 2016 revenue was $10.8 billion by processing $354 billion worth of payments worldwide.
After some outcry on reddit, Xsolla’s reddit account claimed to have turned off default tips, but a follow-up post by an anonymous publisher revealed this is a per publisher setting. In other words, Xsolla has left default tips turned on for all other publishers. In addition, publisher noted there wasn’t an option for a publisher to opt-out of the default tip scheme via their control panel.
Amongst the games affected by Xsolla’s tip scheme: Smite, Mechwarrior: Online, Chronicles of Elyria, Digimon Adventures, Realm of the Mad God!, and Blackshot/Dekaron. The publishers of Mechwarrior: Online and Chronicles of Elyria have already complained to Xsolla and had the tip scheme disabled.
The anonymous publisher who revealed the publisher aspect of Xsolla’s tip scheme expressed their displeasure quite bluntly. “A payment processor’s job is entirely automated unless something goes wrong. It is a job they are already paid for via fees. I can only see a payment processor asking for tips can only be seen as greed. If they need extra money to provide their service they need to reevaluate their fee schedule, not beg for handouts from a publisher’s customers.”