DARQ dev offers Epic Store profits to charity in exchange for non-exclusivity

Unfold Games, the indie developer behind the newly-released puzzle game DARQ, has publicly proposed an interesting deal: they will give 100% of their Epic Game Store profits to charity if they’re allowed on the platform as a non-exclusive title.

Let’s start with a bit of background: the Epic Games Store has been snapping up upcoming indie games as exclusives on the PC platform, giving the developers a sum of money (and in some cases, a minimum sales guarantee) in exchange for eschewing Steam and other digital storefronts on the PC. DARQ was one of the titles who received such an offer, but Unfold Games ultimately decided to turn it down.

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“Epic reached out to me right after I released the trailer announcing Steam release date,” the developer said on Reddit. At that point DARQ was in top 50 most wishlisted games on Steam. I felt going for an exclusivity deal would show that my word means nothing (as I just had promised the game would launch on Steam).”

“Epic made it clear that they reached out to me with an exclusivity deal – I politely turned them down before we had a chance to discuss any details (money offered, etc.),” the developer continued. “I asked them if they would be willing to sell DARQ non-exclusively, and they explained that at this point in time it’s not something they can do. It was a polite and professional exchange – I have nothing bad to say. It just wasn’t the right fit for DARQ.”

In light of this situation, Unfold Games put out a tweet trying to see if Epic Games would be open to a different sort of arrangement:

“If you change your mind and accept DARQ to your store non-exclusively, I’ll donate 100% of my EGS revenue to a charity,” Unfold Games said on Twitter. “If you accept, the charity can be picked by the gaming’s community at a later date.”

One reply points out that the Epic Games Store only allows for exclusivity deals, but that’s something that I decided to take a look at myself. A cursory search of the store revealed several titles in various states of released (excluding the free games that have been given out over the last year) that are on more than one storefront. These include:

  • Outer Wilds (Steam)
  • My Time At Portia (Steam)
  • Metro Exodus (Microsoft Store)
  • Anno 1800 (Uplay)
  • Oxygen Not Included (Steam)
  • Rainbow Six Siege (Steam, Uplay)
  • The Division 2 (Uplay)
  • Watch Dogs 2

A handful of indie titles somehow managed to get around the exclusivity problem, but (rather unsurprisingly) it’s the larger publishers who seem to have more leeway. Pretty much every Ubisoft product is available on their own Uplay storefront, with a handful of others (like Watch Dogs 2) also available on Steam.

Whether or not the Epic Games Store accepts the proposal from the developers of DARQ remains to be seen, In any case, it seems that the Epic Games Store’s exclusivity policy isn’t as firm as it might seem.