No one can stop talking about Epic Store exclusives. With Valve and Steam losing its grasp on its PC gaming monopoly, a lot of folks are quite upset that they’re having to download a new digital storefront in order to play Borderlands 3 and Ooblets. While there ostensibly doesn’t seem like much of a difference between playing a game on Steam and playing one on Epic, people cannot stand it when another developer signs an exclusivity deal with Fortnite‘s creators. Sometimes we wonder if there will ever come a time when the Epic Wars will end.
The GameRevolution team discussed our thoughts on Epic Store exclusives below, and as always, you can leave your responses in the comments section. We’ll feature our favorite comment.
Paul Tamburro, executive editor: “Gaming industry controversies are like a rotisserie chicken cooked by a piss-poor chef. At first, the chicken looks reasonable and safe to eat. But then the chef keeps rotating the thing until it gets burned, becoming progressively more inedible until only weirdos would actively want to eat it. Then people start sending the chicken death threats. I admit that this metaphor has gotten away from me, but this Epic Store exclusivity controversy is dumb. Just like that chef and his dumb chicken.”
Jason Faulkner, senior editor: “The only issue I have with Epic Games Store exclusives is when games have already advertised as being available on Steam/GoG/Whatever in advance. The is especially true with crowdfunded games. I don’t particularly care which digital storefront my PC games are on, but for some people that’s a big deal and if they donated money partially based on the assumption they can get the game on Steam then it’s kind of crappy for them to become an Epic Store exclusive. Sure, they get some cash from Epic, and most if not all have offered refunds for those upset with the move, but I think it’s just a symptom of a larger social issue. It seems like nowadays if a business goes back on its word or changes plans with a product that it can just issue refunds and if you’re not happy with that you’re just a jerk.
“Studios haven’t done the best job communicating with their audience following the move to Epic Games exclusivity either. The latest controversy with Ooblets shows this perfectly. Glumberland’s blog post where the move to the Epic Game Store is discussed is a real quirky read. For an outside observer it just reads as awkward hipster, and I think it’s meant to be cute and personable. If you’re part of the PC gaming community, whose most vocal elements seem to be vehemently opposed to Epic exclusivity, it could easily come off as condescending and dismissive. As a result, the developer claims that they’ve received thousands of hateful messages. There’s no justification for being cruel to people, regardless of how upset you are. However, I can understand why people are upset. Moreso than people seeing Epic Store exclusivity as anti-competitive, I think it comes off as devs are selling out. Unfortunately, game development isn’t like the music business though. You can’t expect a studio to live in a van and do it “for the gamers” or whatever. Especially for smaller studios like Glumberland, Epic Games is offering a lifeline that might mean the difference between success and failure. I guess the real issue here is whether Epic’s promise of funding and increased profits is predatory or not.”
Mack Ashworth, lead editor: “I don’t mind Epic Games Store exclusives. I don’t have any major problems with the storefront, especially when I’m already used to dealing with the not-so-great Uplay and Origin. If developers can cut a better deal and earn more money from Epic, then good for them. It’s still a PC game on the PC platform, with no wildly offensive DRM. I’m good with that!”
Michael Leri, features editor: “I can see the arguments against Epic Store exclusives because of how the store isn’t as robust as Steam but the hate against them has been so overblown and downright shameful. Launchers are free as opposed to full consoles and something that should just be a tad frustrating at worst has been turned into this war full of hate, death threats, and subreddits full of angry internet men.
“The response from the Ooblets team may have been too sarcastic for some, but they did a did a great job on laying out why they did it, how it will help them be more secure, and how fewer store features shouldn’t elicit the sort of nasty responses developers get when going down the Epic path. Security is hard to come by in this industry and it’s hard to knock them for wanting to stay afloat, especially when that just means using another launcher for a period of time on the same platform.”