Epic Games is launching a store front

No, but I still think it’s good practice to maybe talk to your backers about changing something implicitly stated in the original pitch. Kickstarters change based on backer feedback all the time.

Is it so unreasonable to talk to their backers about how they distribute their product?

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To sidebar for a second: I think Steam family sharing is amazing and has let my brother, my wife and me share a ton of games because we game at staggered times. My brother and I were extremely excited for Ashen but when it became an Epic exclusive we both passed on it because the other couldn’t play. It’s very frustrating.

Is there a perception that an Epic key is a lower value product than a Steam key to some people: sure.

Is Epic 100% prepared to eat that bit of internet rage? Yes. Honestly, there’s no way they didn’t know that paid exclusivity deals was going to ruffle some feathers. It’s a calculated move that is absolutely going to pay off for them. It’s probably the only way that a new distribution system is going to get a critical mass of customers. Sure, Fortnight is huge, there are limitations to that audience in converting to customers of other games.

Look how long it took EA/Origin to get a decent backlog of third party titles, and they did that by taking nearly all of their titles exclusive. That was annoying then too, and people still hate on Origin, but I don’t think anyone thinks EA’s PC business is failing.

Epic doesn’t have the luxury of EA’s catalog of games. Throwing out bags of cash to give out free games, and paid exclusives is doing exactly what they want getting their storefront on more computers, and increasing their customer base to the point where eventually, the store will provide a recurring revenue source for Epic.

Internet rage is pretty weak. It blows over as soon as people want something. Battlefield games and Calls of Duty still sell fine. Yes, it helped tank Star Wars Battlefront II, but that was an issue with the game itself, not the experience of buying or installing the game.

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Oh, I absolutely think this is gonna be a ‘boycott Modern Warfare 2’ situation. Especially with Outer Worlds.

I still laugh A LOT at this image:

On a personal level, I’m curious about mods. Outer Worlds will probably have a huge modding scene. Does the EPIC store make any attempt to block or change that, as far as anyone has seen?

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No if anything they fully embrace it. Epic has an entire modding section built into the platform.

It’s currently UE4 only but I see no reason why they wouldn’t branch it out.

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It probably doesn’t matter much, but if I put money toward the development of Phoenix Point with an explicit promise of a steam key and didn’t want to download the epic games store that would probably be pretty upsetting. Mostly I don’t like this though because the last thing I want to see is console wars v2 and it looks exactly like what we’re getting.

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the same thing happened with Left 4 Dead 2.

also referring to the Metro Situation:

this isn’t to dismiss legitmate critcisms of the epic store. but this is me directly laughing at the people willing to die on the hill of having to download another launcher. because they’re just gonna play/buy the game anyway when it comes out.

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Not sending out Steam keys for a crowdfunded game seems like a bad look, as mentioned above, people who have bought (or pseudo-bought in the case of crowdfunding) a game under the pretense that it would be on Steam, should have that promise fulfilled.

Otherwise I see the rage about the new suite of exclusives to be PC gamers circling the wagons in response to what is undeniably a competitor to Steam, out of fear that the imagined value of their Steam library will feel lessened by it not being the dominant client on the platform.

I doubt very many of them legitimately give a damn about the lack of superfluous features like user reviews or per-game forums, it’s just latching onto anything that seems Un-Steam-Like and therefore intrinsically worth less.

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One thing I am concerned about:

Sounds like the Epic Game Store will be curated. Which would be fine if it’d just mean no “asset flips” or shit like “bigotry simulator 2019 ant-sjw edition”, but they’re not clear at all on what they consider a “crappy game”. They don’t even sound sure about how they’re going to figure out if a game is good enough for their store. It’s sounding a lot like how Steam used to handle curation, which is bad.

On a more positive note though, this is great:

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One reason might be that they have a vested interest in supporting Unreal Engine over other engines. I can fully imagine extra benefits for both using their engine and selling through their store platform could be incentives to bring developers on board or try to increase their market position.

This is sort of my take too. Like basically, every “side” of this has some kernel of validity, but it all gets swept away and hard to take seriously by how angry or dismissive so many people involved are. Especially when it does all feel pretty low stakes.

Like, no one is being hurt, even by the most stretched of definitions, by not being able to get a given game on your launcher of choice. But also, it’s totally reasonable to have a preference, and to be disappointed about not getting your preference.

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So western developed visual novels are just doomed at this point, huh

Steam has become outright hostile due to how easily gamed its systems are by bad actors, itchio barely gets enough traffic to justify costs, and Epic doesn’t even consider them games. It is truly astonishing to me how an entire gaming medium is looking like it may just die out because there’s less and less places to actually sell them and get enough people aware their game even exists to keep the lights on in development circles.

Then again, this seems to be a running trend in the wider indie scene as well. If you aren’t already established, you’re probably not going to be around much longer, especially if you lacks significant means to self publish or break into curated store fronts. The almighty algorithm and libertarian capitalist tech bros might actually wipe out entire types of games, at least on a wide or ambitious scale, and that depresses the hell out of me.

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The “crappy games” thing rings a little hollow for me after hearing that all of the David Cage games are being brought to their store soon

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I think from a stand point they can’t define it because as soon as you do you have people trying to test the limit. It’s why most forums and chat rooms have the catch all rule of moderators have final say.

Them being subjective is there way of being able to reject without having to give a proper reason.

I don’t think that’s the case at all. Sweeny said they don’t want porn games, which my understanding there is a distinct difference between an erotic visual novel and something like Dream Daddy.

Given that Epic is curating their games I would assume when you submit a visual novel you could not only submit the game itself but all of your text or even a video of all possible scenarios for them to review for any content they would deem pornography.

Epic exists to make money. Tim Sweeny seems like a man who likes money. I do not see Epic leaving money on the table because they think VNs are icky.

This falls apart the moment you have a homophobe anywhere in the process, or just someone who isn’t used to queer sexuality or identity. But that’s not necessarily what I’m talking about.

Apparently Epic leadership don’t see visual novels as games, period, or if I misheard, VNs won’t be making it there for the sole reason that most VN studios in the west are small and cant break through the red tape or need of advertisement or selling a concept to get into a store like that. They’re definitely reacting to Steam outrage by over-correcting and wrapping us back around to Steam’s original problem of being incredibly inaccessible for indie developers (unlike now, where there’s absolutely no basic checks for content or even if a game has an executable). That barely matters if you want to get a big name release or established indie studio release on PC but not on Steam, yet everyone else trying to get in or lacking the same clout will be at square one all over again.

I think Epic is a net gain because finally, Steam chokes a little, but we seriously need a competitor with staying power that’s more open than this.

Are you able to link to where you saw epic talking about not distributing VNs? I can’t seem to find anything on google, but that could easily just be me being bad at googling. Cause if that is the case, that really sucks, and would pretty obviously contradict their statement that they’ll “accept reasonably good quality games, of any scale.”

The only quote I can find is this article from Variety which seems to be from GDC.

Steve Allison, head of the Epic Game Store, was a bit more blunt when asking the developers question about Epic’s own policies.

“If we get into the business of visual novels, we’re not going to sell porn,” he said. “If they don’t have any rating and we have to make a subjective decision, we won’t be publishing porn.”

Searching that quote returns nothing but maybe it was part of a talk?

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I’m thinking I may have been mistaken, but that quote also doesn’t fill me with confidence because it backs my worries on the second point.

Platforms aren’t your friends, after all. It’s usually wise to approach with skepticism.

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Yeah, I mean at best it indicates a skepticism that doesn’t really do anything to reassure about their future. If they’re not banned outright I guess that’s a good thing, but not really something worth celebrating.

Another cut throat acquisition by Epic

Shocked Valve isn’t making similar plays yet