Author Topic: What is exactly the Epic Games Stores about?  (Read 31 times)

Offline Starfox

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What is exactly the Epic Games Stores about?
« on: August 24, 2019, 11:45:08 AM »
Because in light of a story currently making the round, one has to ask the question.

See, there's this indie developer releasing his first game, a game that he mostly developed alone over three years and a half, DARQ. He prepared a Steam release, his game was among the 50 most wishlisted games on Steam for a year and so once the game completed, he decides of a release date that he announces on July 27th. On July 28th, he receives an email from the Epic Games Store asking him if he was interested in an exclusivity deal. He said no, even without asking what kind of money they were talking about.

Later he explained that DARQ is his first game but that he is really serious about working long term in the gaming industry. As such, he wants to build trust with his customers and he wants his word (in this case that he was going to release his game on Steam) to mean something and not to just make empty promises. Which is very commendable. When you put out your word, you shouldn't backpedal on it unless extraordinary circumstances arise because if you do that just means that your word is nothing.

But hey, the story could stop there... EGS offers developer an exclusivity deal, developer refuses... end of story. But no, because there is a second part and in this story, it's the most interesting of all.

Because he has nothing against EGS in general, the developer told them by email that he was not opposed to see his game published on several platforms without the exclusivity. Would they agree to that? I quote EGS answer: "We aren't in a position to open the store up to games that simship [short for Simultaneous Shipment]". In short... either you go exclusive with us or we don't have any deal.

Keep that sentence in mind ladies and gentlemen... because it's the perfect occasion to ask yourself "how does that fit with all the crap that Tim Sweeney (Epic Games CEO) has been saying about the EGS goals during the past year?"

We are all for developers, we want to promote developers, we want a better gaming industry, we want to offer developers opportunities... and blah blah.

The piece of evidence presented before us tells a completely different story. If EGS was truly interested in DARQ because they thought it had potential, creativity and so on, they would have offered a spot in their store, no matter the exclusivity or lack thereof. But they don't and why? Because they didn't care about the game, about the developer or about the current phase of the moon.

They DID care however about the fact that the game was among the 50 most wishlisted game on Steam. And they wanted to snatch it from Steam because they told themselves that all the gamers that wishlisted the game on Steam, would have to buy from EGS in case of exclusivity. But well, there was no exclusivity so the game didn't interest them anymore.

That's all there is to it. All the crap Tim Sweeney issues on a weekly basis you can push it down the drain because it's the only place it deserves. There was never a big plan to promote developers, games and whatnot. There is a big plan to kill the competition with big dollars. And I'm all for competition, it can benefit customers after all. But what Epic Games does is not competition by any stretch of the term. When you're just content with securing exclusivity even going as far as excluding games that do not want to be a part of that, that's not competition, that's borderline [beep]... sorry, I had to censor myself here because I realized after writing it that it was going a bit far in this context... though not THAT far.

True competition is proposing added values, enticing consumers to switch to a product that is better that what they had. But you know what? That kind of competition takes a lot of work, and work is tiring... Better to buy stuff when you have the money (and with Tencent behind them, Epic Games has more than enough to sink the competition 10 times over)
 
And Note that when there is an exclusivity deal, Steam isn't the only one impacted  because part of the games that secured an exclusivity with EGS were also planned for a release on GOG (DARQ is available there too) and other smaller distribution platforms. Exclusivity means that GOG and any other distribution platform would have been barred from distributing the game too. So Epic Games may claim that their beef is with Steam, in the facts, everyone is impacted, including distributors that might very well not survive what is going on (but after all it's Epic Games true goal, right? becoming the sole King of the Hill). And is also impacted our ability, as consumers, to decide from where we want to buy a product, which should be, one would think, one of our basic freedoms. The cases in which the EGS exclusivity deal allowed the distribution by one other store are very few. Most famously there is The Outer Worlds that is also available from the Microsoft Store despite the EGS exclusivity because, well Microsoft owns Obsidian Entertainment so they weren't about to be cut off from the deal.

So here's another thing to add to the current state of the gaming industry...

All the more power to DARQ and its developer though because they sure benefit from a lot of good publicity these days.

Oooh, wait. I forgot this precious tidbit that is the answer of EGS to Kotaku when questioned on the why:

Quote
We work with developers and publishers on a one-on-one basis and every situation is unique. We have a number of games from independent developers that are exclusive to our store, as well as a number of games that are available on other digital storefronts, including Steam. We have very limited release bandwidth and We work with developers and publishers on a one-on-one basis and every situation is unique. We have a number of games from independent developers that are exclusive to our store, as well as a number of games that are available on other digital storefronts, including Steam. We have very limited release bandwidth and are definitely prioritizing games with opportunities for exclusivity and therefore significant Epic dev/marketing assistance. We consider many other factors as well, so there is no set formula. We consider many other factors as well, so there is no set formula.

I have myself put in bold the "limited release bandwidth" because... seriously Epic? You want to make us believe that you can spend dozen of millions of dollars securing exclusivity right and left but you cannot offer some more bandwidth that would benefit small but promising indie studios that would definitely benefit from the boost? Are you seriously writing that crap down as if it was real? How much do you pay your PR? My advice, switch PR.

"... are definitely prioritizing games with opportunities for exclusivity and therefore significant Epic dev/marketing assistance".

And no, you're not. What's this about Cyberpunk 2077 being sold on all platforms because CD Projekt didn't want any exclusivity deal? In their case they said "well, either you publish our game with no exclusivity because we loathe exclusivity and our fans don't like it either, or you won't publish our game at all". So Timmy... Why not refuse them too? CDPR is not even using the Unreal Engine for God sake. But no, after the success of The Witcher 3, Cyberpunk 2077 is a big deal on the horizon so you couldn't possibly do without having it on your store... even without your so dear exclusivity deal. I bet they're still fuming about that particular lack of exclusivity though. Such a high profile game... what a shame  :purplelaugh:

Another way to tell indie developers that don't want to swallow the deal :"you're just small fry, we don't really need you so sod off". Is that the same company that has pledged to defend all developers against the evil that is Steam?
« Last Edit: August 24, 2019, 01:27:00 PM by Starfox »


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Offline bobdog

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Re: What is exactly the Epic Games Stores about?
« Reply #1 on: September 02, 2019, 10:44:09 AM »
I too agree that competition can be a good thing, especially if it supports the game developers to make more money to pay their staff appropriately and bring out more games in the future. One thing I am liking so far about Epic Store is the weekly free games they are providing. So far I have netted 14 freebies, including: Alan Wake, City of Brass, Hyper Light Drifter, Last Day of June, Limbo, Mutant Year Zero (just released this year), SubNautica, Witness, What Remains of Edith Finch, and a couple more. These are good games, only a couple that I've previously played.

I have a huge gripe however about the whole layout of the site. It's atrocious and you have to scroll down a page at a time to see what games they offer. If they can possibly make this more user-friendly, I think they'll be more successful in the long run.

But yes, what you're saying -- that's all business is really about: pushing other folks down to rise to the top. There are very few games companies that I can say are really on the up-and-up, but certainly CD Projekt Red would be right at the top both for creating GOG and for creating amazing games.