Epic Games is launching a store front


#62

Ruh-Roh Rhaggy…

Honestly, I’ve been pretty cool about how Epic has been making plays and snatching up exclusives, but this here seems like a serious misstep. Some people are already mad you have to use more than one launcher now, but to snatch away exclusivity on pre-orders? Outside of gamer drama, that just seems like bad business.

Jeff Gerstmann pointed this out:

Edit:

Looks like they’re on Damage Control pretty quick:

Update: Deep Silver has sent an updated version of the press release that states Metro Exodus will return to Steam and “other store fronts” after Feb. 14, 2020.


#63

I can see why Epic would do this and it’s smart business, but making a movie like this two weeks before a game launches is obviously shitty. People don’t trust this Epic Store yet and for people paying attention, it’s basically a slap in the face.

Now long-term, I don’t think any of this matters. The people who complain online will complain online, everybody else will just buy on the Epic Store or on consoles.

But if the Epic Store wants to build goodwill, probably the way to do it is not with monopolistic power grabs like this. Just my two cents. At least give people months of warning before hand when the next big release will be Epic-exclusive.


#64

I’m not sure when in the history of gaming, that ‘exclusives’ were ever considered a good thing. They are so consumer unfriendly. I think there’s some sympathy for Nintendo first party exclusives because of the strength of that brand, and because they make the games themselves (or pay for their whole development). There was also a time when developing for one console was so different from another that it was almost like building the game twice to ship cross platform. It’s not like that anymore, so it’s mostly predatory business practice when it happens.


#65

On the one hand, I find all of this splintering and weird business practices for digital storefronts to be disheartening and it seems that ultimately no one is coming to the conclusion that people actually want as much as the conclusion people will tolerate.

On the other hand, I see people who are screaming at the heavens because their personal massive corporation of choice isn’t selling a game and they might have to install a second launcher and I just want to roll my eyes.


#66

The reaction from Reddit, ERA, and the like is absolutely childish. It’s another launcher on your PC, not a $400 console. PC gaming’s older, entrenched audience isn’t willing to deal with the growing pains of a market that’s changing.

I’m not gonna be rallying for Epic considering their chief exec is a libertarian dunce and the influencer benefit system creates a whole host of ethical concerns. But I refuse to believe this is anything other than oldhead gamers who still hold onto the tired “good guy valve” reputation of Steam.


#67

I don’t really see it that way, I suppose. Given that they are honouring pre-orders and DLC purchases already made, nobody loses out on this but people entrenched in the Steam convenience ecosystem. Which I appreciate is a non-zero amount of people, but I don’t think it is that substantial outside of the PC gaming devotee community.

I, for one, continue to be a paragon of enlightened self-interest who will pursue the best deals where they are available on the market in pursuit of the best price for my hobby. I think this kind of market-minded thinking will appeal to all PC gaming chief executive officers and alternative social media platform users.


#68

Nathan Grayson has a great tweet that I think summarizes a lot of folk’s feeling on that statement from Valve.

I don’t want to assign direct intent here, because it really probably is just Valve saying hey this doesn’t feel fair. Which, tough shit. But but but, there are gonna be a lot of gamers who see that statement as a call to get toxic.


#69

You know, i’m not really thrilled about exclusives on platforms in general. But damn, thats a strong line in the sand to draw when you are talking about Steam, an absurd monopoly over the last decade in regards to online video game platforms. “Competition is good!” “Wait, minor inconviences?” “Fuck that i dont’ want any competition, good guy steam am i rite?”

Also, i’ve seen some low to high key chinaphobic shit hanging around anything with Epic. Which, ehhhhhhhhhh


#70

I agree with your point but I think you have the ages reversed. The older crowd is used to dealing with CDs, keys, installs, updates, and backing up saves manually. It’s the younger people who’s only experience with PC gaming has been post Steam that see installing a second launcher as some herculean effort that makes them reconsider even buying a game.

The extra bit underscoring all this is that you know every one of the people complaining will download and sign up for whatever launcher they need without hesitation the second they want a game that’s not on Steam.


#71

i think the stupidest thing is this "EPIC wants to compete, but all its doing is just buying exclusives :sob: "

Guess what, companies tend to compete by throwing money around, you absolute dipshits.


#72

While I don’t disagree that there’s a lot of childish responses out there, I feel you are being overly dismissive here. “Get with the times old dudes!” is ageist as hell. PC gamers welcomed quite a bit of competition to Steam, including itch, gog (before the crappiness of its management became clear), discord and even twitch’s storefront. What those have in common is that they hit a desirable niche that added something net new to the often weird and experimental world of PC gaming.

I mean, I get that it’s cool here on waypoint to dunk on Valve and Steam, and there are good reasons for that, but their product is good y’all. I have a box that sits in a corner and I stream to my tv’s and tablets and play PC games in a way that really suits me. They’ve had time to figure out what it really takes to make a windows gaming box a really nice experience, right down to making sure you can customize your controller for every game you have.

And sure, we’re talking about minor inconveniences, but enough annoyances add up. I mean this is hobby stuff, there’s a limit to how much annoyance is worth dealing with when it’s about spending free time. It isn’t a real parallel, but there’s a case to be made for looking at how the fragmentation of video streaming services has put an end to the “golden age” of streaming video. In some ways, yeah, video streaming is better than ever, if you are willing to pay more. But it’s also worse, because answering the question of “can i stream it” is getting annoying enough that sometimes, it just isn’t worth it. I mean, this is a place where we talk about games respecting our time. A proliferation of launchers and updaters does not respect my time.

I really hope that competition will get Valve to dial down its cut, and improve some of its policies, I really do. But I kind of hate what it’ll probably take to get there. My annoyance here is less about Epic (though I do see them as pretty shady these days) and more “storefront, launcher, and updater fatigue” combined with being old enough to remember when exclusives were a rule, rather than the norm, and that sucked, I do not want to go back to that.


#73

I think that’s a fair assessment of Steam’s user base, but I actually agree with Valve that it doesn’t seem fair. At least in the prior context of Valve having to pull Metro off their store. That’s a last minute thing that affects their user-base and their business. They have a right to be mad here…

I wouldn’t say the same thing if Valve had some kind of prior warning that this exclusive deal was in place, so that they wouldn’t have to remove their product page off their platform and refund all their customers. And then have to deal with that very toxicity on the page of their forums because a lot of people probably didn’t get the memo. That’s a frustrating transition that I can totally understand, and I’m glad EPIC has now stated that they can honor the pre-orders made with Valve. Which means Valve should probably drop that shadey message, but whatever.

I can see the spin kind of in the works here.

Anti-Valve people want to make it look like Valve is throwing a fit because they don’t get exclusivity, and ‘gamers’ are trying to make EPIC look bad by rallying around this shady message Valve dropped.

I feel the true fault lies somewhere in the middle, but Valve has been pretty tight lipped about how they feel about Epic.

I wish they would pull that specific wording from that ‘pre-order page.’ The honoring of pre-orders seems like a step in the right direction.


#74

Yeah, but “I HAVE TO GET ANOTHER LAUNCHER!?!?” is pretty low on the list of stuff that has any impact on people’s gaming purchasing decisions outside a very small and vocal core group. I mean, I have four different launchers as it is and it’s not a huge deal, just set your settings so none of it comes up when you boot your computer and pin them on your taskbar or whatever you usually check.

I’ll gladly take up 20 launchers and more if it means Steam isn’t the entire PC gaming market anymore. Ever since they released Portal 2, their priorities have shifted into doing as little work as possible for as much gain as they can get, taking large profit chunks from small developers in the process. We’ve reached a point where their store is so poorly organized that most indie developers just moved to console stores and more niche marketplaces because Steam’s former worth as a quality place to show your titles to a wider audience than you could normally ever hope for has basically been shattered by their increasingly off-hands attitude and their worship of the almighty algorithm.

This is created some increasingly dire problems, including having such a broken support system that bad faith users and bigots can get games pull from the store with enough numbers, as we saw when a bunch of games with queer content in them were suddenly ripped from Steam’s store. Valve tried to undo this and basically said anything generally goes, and then they quickly started backpedaling on that in the most cowardly way possible, not even making it clear what was allowed on the store, destroying the trust smaller developers and studios had in Valve’s management.

We NEED competition because we’re headed into a situation where entire types of games can’t be financially viable because all the sizable marketplaces are managed by libertarian anthro-capitalists who would rather just let their incredibly toxic communities do all the work for them while they get all of the profit. steam, as it exists now, is actively damaging to the PC market space.

Epic turned out to be a massive disappointment in this respect (their entire business plan with “influencers” is sending up so many red flags), but just because one company made one good product once does not mean they get to chokehold an entire medium because they can’t be bothered to actually manage the service they claim to provide.


#75

I feel really weird about this being turned into an argument about fairness. What exactly isn’t fair here? Everyone who bought it through steam while it was advertised on steam will get it on steam. Everyone else will have to buy it through Epic if they choose to do so, which they don’t have to.

The inconvenience isn’t non-existent, but it’s nowhere near in proportion to the outcry. This isn’t exclusivity to a brick and mortar retail location you might not be able to reach, it’s creating a login to an online store, something people do countless times for physical goods near constantly without batting an eye. Given the nightmare hellscape of current online consumerism, the same people grabbing their torches and pitchforks almost certainly have several dozen store accounts scattered to the winds that they thought nothing of because they ordered something once from a specialized retailer once in their lives. The idea that someone who probably has facebook, twitter, reddit, amazon, pandora, XBL, PSN, Nintendo eshop, steam, gamestop, patreon, kickstarter, target, walmart, best buy, origin, uplay, and other random logins suddenly finds epic to be the bridge too far just seems weird.


#76

You see, it was alright until they targeted PC gamers


#77

I mean, I agree with you. Steam has been profoundly poor at addressing real problems with their store. In part because as the giant of distribution: they don’t have to.

And yeah: my personal comfort and annoyance doesn’t really stack up to that, although I disagree as to the amount of work and stress it is to hook into a new distribution system (providing credit card info and admin rights on my machine is a serious decision, plus the ongoing hassle that managing multiple launchers and updates provides.)

I don’t disagree at all that competition and disruption is the only hammer that can knock some sense into Valve. I do foresee a mess of uneven quality. Uneven suppprt expectations, and really weird moves by newer players who don’t know better. Lost purchase due to stores shuttering is going to be a real thing.

The next phase is not going to be a nice one. Edit: Chilling out.


#78

“Distinctly unappreciated” My guy, you made a comment and people responded. Chill.

Anyway…

I’m curious what the inconvenience of having multiple storefronts actually is. It might just be the way I do it but I can’t remember the last time I opened Steam. A couple weeks ago for two seconds to wishlist something, maybe? Once a game is installed I either pin it to the start menu or search for it by typing the first few letters. Then it launches whatever service it needs automatically. It makes zero different where I bought it from, they all run the same.


#79

It’s funny, I think that statement they released is the fastest I’ve ever seen valve do anything ever


#80

I was in that boat where, for a while, despite having no problem using two other consoles, I felt like it would be some huge inconvenience to have games on multiple launchers. And then Epic started offering their occasional free games, and I put 30 hours into Subnautica, and that feeling of inconvenience completely disappeared. It was honestly just born from habit—I got used to Steam being a hub, but it didn’t take very long to get used to a different paradigm.

I do think it’s a valid concern that, if we end up with several different launchers each of which store our payment info, the probability of a data breach or hack is higher just by volume. But at the same time, that risk is involved in purchasing anything over the internet, and most of us (if I were to hazard a guess) use plenty of e-commerce platforms routinely.


#81

Here’s something that I think get lost in this conversation:

There was little competition in the PC gaming space before Epic. GoG and itch having a niche is a way to avoid competition in a business sense. By carving out their own spaces in places that Steam neglected, those companies were choosing NOT to compete with Valve. Competition is when a company makes it thier strategy to actively go after another company’s lunch, like Epic is by pulling exclusives out from under Valve. It’s actually fairly rare to see competition in any market, because laissez-faire capitalism kinda disincentivizes it, contrary to what libertarians will tell you. So, anyway, people saying Epic’s actions are anti-competitive are coming at it from the wrong side. Market competition isn’t the cure all it’s made up to be and can have as many detrimental effects as the lack there of. Capitalism is just bad at allocating resources all around. No matter what, the consumer is going to lose, full stop.