Epic Games is launching a store front


#42

Honestly the response I’ve been seeing to the epic store excluding fornite up to this point was people grabbing subnautica off it for free and then never using it again since it bypasses the launcher. The lack of things like user reviews and forums seems to actually be a big sticking point and nobody actually wants to have another thing running. Steam right now is probably just fine if they do nothing.


#43

I know Valve has had a big UI update in the works for a long time, so I expect that will roll out in the next year or two, maybe along with a new revenue split as a part of a soft refresh for Steam. Beyond that, I have a hard time imagining them making any significant changes. Curation is obviously a thing of the past, and they’ve repeatedly demonstrated that they have no interest in investing in resources that could curb its toxicity (if I were being cynical, I might even say the toxicity works in their favor). Even if other platforms were to put a dent in Valve’s profits, I’m guessing Steam is so wildly profitable for them that they could still limp on almost indefinitely.


#44

Epic just changed their refund policy to be more like Steam’s: https://www.epicgames.com/site/en-US/store-refund-policy

Iirc before this their system was that users got two refund tokens per year for refunds with no questions asked, on top of refunds through support.


#45

I think it was 2, period. Unless that changed again from that first posting.


#46

The 2 refunds period was more of a carry over from Fortnite I think to prevent people just refunding every other skin.


#47

Between this and Netflix removing the ability to make payments through the iOS app, it seems the days of the 30% cut to platform holders are approaching a rapid end. It’ll be interesting to see if Sony or (more likely) Microsoft cut their take in the next gen. It would almost create a default timed-exclusive option. Launch on one console and get an 85% cut on your release window sales before bringing it to the other platforms.


#48

Welp, into the trash it goes!

It was fun imagining we would actually have real competition for Steam for a few months there, huh

BUT WAIT! IT GETS WORSE


#49

the fact that they chose to employ the Steamspy bloke is the biggest reason for me to never touch that store at all.


#50

I’m not exactly seeing the issue.

The influncer part states developers can set what cut they want to give and it sounds like it’s on a per unit sale. So for example if for my game I gave you a free code and a referral link I could set your % cut as 5 but for a bigger streamer I’m going to give 20% because there audience is much bigger.

Epic isn’t forcing you to use influencers or give up a % cut they are giving you the option and for right now they will eat 5% per unit sale through referral codes. You could set that % to 0 in the future or just not interact with it at all.

If anything this seems like a good thing for smaller streamers because a viewer who might not subscribe or directly donate can still give money to them by buying games through their referral link.


#51

The implication here is that for your game to get any traction on Epic’s store, you need coverage from “”"“influencers,”""" a thing that most indie developers can’t really get much support from, at least enough to actually boost their sales numbers. It’s basically the Steam system, except now you have to give a cut of your profits to curators!

Also this is ESPECIALLY bad for streaming and video producers because it suddenly changes the landscape where more and more content is paid promotion, and knowing at how bad both of those groups of people are at when it comes to relaying that sort of information, which will in turn cause idiotic and pointless, discourse exploding “scandals” everywhere once the general public starts noticing undisclosed advertisement for pay.

It’s also not clear if you can even decide who gets to present your game (for a cut of YOUR profits, I may add), meaning if that particular issue isn’t addressed fast, there’s a good chance trash people will use this as a means of generating yet more harassment campaigns against small developers.

Also, a 20% cut from indie game coverage is a hell of a freudian slip. It tells me Epic does not care at all about smaller developers.


#52

It’s clarified in a tweet thread of Galyonkin that you can’t set the rate per streamer. (check the threadmarks in the resetera OP for the update post)

@galyonkin “An infuencer can’t demand anything in this system. The dev sets the share and it’s for everyone. They can’t set it on a per-influencer basis.”

Now we know that it’s one influencer rate for all – 20% for your Ninjas of the world as well as someone with a more humble following. There is no granularity. Whether that’s a good thing is for you to decide.

edit:

also in the tweet thread,

@DragnixMod “But giving these cuts, won’t this lead to universally more positive coverage then in the past considering that it’s so directly tied? That’s what concerns me about this, and will there be proper teaching about disclosure?”

@galyonkin replying to @DragnixMod “I don’t think so. If an influencer gets paid no matter what game he/she streams, it shouldn’t affect their judgment.”

I’m not a sales expert but this to me seems like galyonkin doesn’t really get it.


#53

From what I read, it sounded like the only sort of promotion that will be on EGS (certainly pronounced “Eggs”) is from streamers. It sounds like it’ll be just as bad for discoverability as Steam, et all.

I’ve been really trying to just make the switch to Itch.io when possible.


#54

I guess I really just don’t see the problem considering the influencer thing is completely opt in. It just seems to be doing what every other digital storefront does plus this extra influencer thing.

If Epic was telling everyone they had to use the influencer program then I would see the problem but with the details right now it just doesn’t seem like an issue.


#55

But if there is no other form of promotion or curation then developers will have no choice. Though I can’t seem to find the specific article, I have heard that most devs do not see any sort of boost when popular streamers/youtubers/influencers showcase their games. A quick google search only reveals pretty shady looking articles claiming the opposite. (Most from twitch affiliated sites, etc) But it’s not uncommon to hear indie devs go “yeah, some big streamer streamed my game and we only saw about 10 sales from it.”


#56

You are probably not wrong considering Twitch themselves tried this and failed.

Epic does have this system already in place with Fortnite, maybe they have data gathered from that to make it seem worthwhile to them?

To me it just seems like if it doesn’t work out it’s going to be something that gets corrected because when it boils down to it the entire goal of a company is to make money. If this system is not making money then it’s going to get changed. They want people to buy games from their store front. If no one is buying games because they never see something that interests them they are going to look at changing or making new ways to get games in front of you that you will buy. It’s why Steam went through several store front iterations and gimmicks to try and get you to find something to buy.

I strongly suspect that Epic isn’t doing this as some kind of move to slight indie developers or anyone. Some higher up marketing person probably looked at the current way things are going and said “Streamers get lots of views, we should find a way to bring their audience to our store” and thus this happened.

Reading more into it just sounds like Valves old way of flagging profiles as press and giving them access to every game except in this case you just have to be an influencer and developers can then opt into giving everyone that is a free copy of the game plus a % cut of all sales sold through affiliate links. So instead of sitting down and writing out an email campaign to try and get as many streamers and press outlets to look at your game you just flag your game and give a brief description for why they should try it.


#57

“The central idea of this is that developers provide influencers with referral links to their games, which gives content creators and the like the possibility to earn a share of a game’s sale if it is bought through them”

Christ, what a garbage policy. This would only incentivise content creators to cover “good”, mass appeal games and ham their enjoyment up to try and secure as many sales as possible, which then flow back into their own pockets, not to mention that because it’s a dev-set percentage (which is presumably visible to influencers) that anyone who can’t afford to give their profits away is going to get no coverage under such a system.

I’m astounded that someone could look at the indie-hating tyre-fire that is steam and go “yeah, i bet we can fuck this up even harder”. Fuck epic.


#58

UGH. Just. Ugh. “Steam isn’t creepy enough.”

Also “You can give us your sales data, but we won’t, lol”

The EGS will try to give developers as much info on players as is “legally possible” – more than on Steam. Galyonkin says that you’ll be able to see what other games they play and what genres they like. Partners can disclose their own sales data, but Epic isn’t allowed to. Though he does make a point of saying there’ll be information that will give you an idea of what kind of games are currently popular. There will be an API that can be scraped to facilitate a potential “Epic Spy,” but they will not offer that service themselves. Galyonkin would be glad to see it happen. Additionally, in certain instances, developers will be able to see what domains people came from to find their store page and find out whether that converted into a sale or not.


#59

Yeah, as much as this is a dumb policy, I doubt the impact it will actually have on sales will be that significant. The only research I’ve found on the link between streamers and game sales is from Twitch, which, come on.

Eventually, some streamer and some company are going to be found to be secretly in cahoots, and whether it becomes a scandal or people collectively shrug will determine whether this system is deemed to be worth it. In three years, this will either be completely dead, or will be so normal we’ll forget it was ever not a thing.

And, I don’t know, we all act like indie game developers are these fragile little angels that must be protected like baby kittens, but I’ve seen enough to believe that more than a few of them are street wise alleycats. They’ll figure it out.

I’m 99.9% sure this means a developer/publisher can decide to disclose their sales to third parties but Epic will not, not that Epic won’t give companies their own data.


#60

Yes: Epic is saying “we will facilitate sharing of data that we are choosing to keep private” that I object to. It’s really very shifty to me.


#61

I don’t see what’s shifty about that. I mean, I guess sales info should just be public knowledge. Hell, it should be on the store page. The only problem is how people extractulate that info in shitty ways.
“Well clearly this game is bad, it only sold 300k copies.”
Or “the reason this game sold so poorly is because so-and-so was involved.”

I don’t think not having that info would stop people from making comments like that, but making it public would likely lead to more comments like that out there.

Regardless, it’s certainly a better policy than “you can never externally share sales numbers.”