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Potatoguy

Epic Games Store, and the "exclusive" wars.

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I'm surprised a topic about it isn't here about it... Most of us here have heard about the Epic Game Store being a new up-and-running game store that seeks to rival Steam in its potential (It houses Apex Legends and Fortnite, so it's hard not to know its existence). It's now the 4th (5th? 6th) game store launcher in the market, with overloard Steam, that one launcher GOG, and recent whogivesashit Discord Nitro being its likely competitors.

 

However, I've been pretty much evicted out from even trying this store out due to how much conniving and sneaky shit the store is doing.

There's that whole thing of possibly stealing data from you without you knowing.

 

The two times they got kickstarted games exclusively locked into their store, even when kickstarters where promised to have Steam versions.

 

Just some weeks ago, they swiped Rocket League under their belt, with a possible chance of the Steam version going bye-bye or something.


And now just this week, they're doing some shit with their sales making games in the deals pull out!

 

Seriously Epic: WTF?

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Posted (edited)

Latest thing seems to be $10 off $15+ games without letting publishers know about it. 2 publishers had to be temporarily pulled from the store when they found out.

 

If people didn't hate EA, I wonder how long they'd hate Origin for the exclusivity on their own game trilogy conclusions like Mass Effect 3, Dead Space 3, uh... Sims 4?

 

Epic has money to throw around. I remember when people hated Half-Life 2 for forcing people to get Steam in order to install the game. Then they did some dick move of buying mods and having them exclusive to Steam. We all still hate Steam right?

 

We here at Doomworld remember the good ole days where you got shareware for free everywhere and you didn't have to buy the game, because it was already fantastic enough that in later years you bought Doom 2 because the shareware of Doom 1 was so good. The only platform you needed was a 3.5" floppy drive.

Edited by geo

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Posted (edited)

I've been up to date with Epic Store due to a couple Youtube channels have been focusing on it. Jimquisition being a popular one.

 

Also there were discussions about it in Doomworld in an unrelated thread.

 

Overall, I understand Epics strategies but I dont like them. They are getting lots of hate but I would love to see them support more Indies. Take less of a triple A exclusive approach and announce something positive while they have the gaming world's attention.

 

A major issue in steam is releases of smaller games being hidden and drowned by many others thst aren't necessarily good. This hurts a game's release. What if Epic wanted to focus on them more where it won't piss off a large market and give the small guys a really big boost? It's more forgivable this way.

Edited by Chezza

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I WAS going to buy Super Meatboy Forever... but then I found it was going to be an Epic Games Store exclusive for AN ENTIRE YEAR. The cheek of those guys!

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Oh look, it's everyone blowing things out of proportion again.

 

I've said it before, I'll say it again.

  • One major hub for all your gaming needs, that gets to dictate prices and what content you access
  • Multiple hubs to enforce competition, but will fragment your install bases and do whatever they can to undercut the other guys, especially the leader

Choose one, can't have both.

 

After all, Steam has had over a decade of time to improve, iterate, refine. Remember how awful it was in the mid-2000s? Remember how everyone freaked out that you'd have to actually download your game?

 

Epic locking down exclusivity is pretty much the only way to force Valve's hand. If it's available on both, you will buy it on Steam. Pure and simple. You may not like it, but it's not even like this is new - go on, find Mass Effect 3 or Crysis 3 on Steam.

 

I'll wait.

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I'm there for the free games every 2 weeks. I have eyed up a few things from this deal, but I realize that most things that I want are from publishers that just have bundle deals in Humble Bundle. I don't need anything that bad when I still have Doom 2.

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5 hours ago, Dark Pulse said:

Oh look, it's everyone blowing things out of proportion again.

 

I've said it before, I'll say it again.

  • One major hub for all your gaming needs, that gets to dictate prices and what content you access
  • Multiple hubs to enforce competition, but will fragment your install bases and do whatever they can to undercut the other guys, especially the leader

Choose one, can't have both.

 

After all, Steam has had over a decade of time to improve, iterate, refine. Remember how awful it was in the mid-2000s? Remember how everyone freaked out that you'd have to actually download your game?

 

Epic locking down exclusivity is pretty much the only way to force Valve's hand. If it's available on both, you will buy it on Steam. Pure and simple. You may not like it, but it's not even like this is new - go on, find Mass Effect 3 or Crysis 3 on Steam.

 

I'll wait.

 

I buy my games on GoG.

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11 hours ago, Dark Pulse said:

Oh look, it's everyone blowing things out of proportion again.

 

I've said it before, I'll say it again.

  • One major hub for all your gaming needs, that gets to dictate prices and what content you access
  • Multiple hubs to enforce competition, but will fragment your install bases and do whatever they can to undercut the other guys, especially the leader

Choose one, can't have both.

 

After all, Steam has had over a decade of time to improve, iterate, refine. Remember how awful it was in the mid-2000s? Remember how everyone freaked out that you'd have to actually download your game?

 

Epic locking down exclusivity is pretty much the only way to force Valve's hand. If it's available on both, you will buy it on Steam. Pure and simple. You may not like it, but it's not even like this is new - go on, find Mass Effect 3 or Crysis 3 on Steam.

 

I'll wait.

 

You're right in that there is most likely no way to compete with Steam without resorting to tactics like these.

 

However, at the same time you won't get any competition you, as the paying customer, will benefit from with the EGS. That's because their whole plan is to spend as little money as possible on the platform itself, and instead bribe developers with oodles of money, with the only condition being that their game will have to be an EGS exclusive. Then, as more and more games become EGS exclusives, the paying customer won't have any choice but to install the EGS eventually, no matter its quality, whether they want to or not. As such they are not competing for the customers by offering a better service, they are competing for the developers by waving around wads of cash. (as well as other minor things like having no discussion hub to moderate, or no mandatory review system, both of which benefit the customer and both of which many AAA developers don't like)

 

Since this kind of spending is very likely not sustainable over long periods of time, I'm thinking that their end goal is to put Steam and GOG out of business and become the new major hub for gaming needs that gets to dictate prices. Only this time with a barebones store that doesn't even have a shopping cart.

 

On 5/20/2019 at 11:32 PM, Chezza said:

They are getting lots of hate but I would love to see them support more Indies. Take less of a triple A exclusive approach and announce something positive while they have the gaming world's attention. 

 

That doesn't fit into their business plan. Their whole schtick is to bribe developers of popular games with so much money they can't reasonably refuse, and force the hyped-up customers to use their inferior service. Most Indies attract way too little attention for that scheme to pay off, hence why you find so few of them on their store. (barring celebrity developers like Edmund McMillen)

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10 hours ago, geo said:

I'm there for the free games every 2 weeks. I have eyed up a few things from this deal, but I realize that most things that I want are from publishers that just have bundle deals in Humble Bundle. I don't need anything that bad when I still have Doom 2.

Thanks for reminding me. I haven't checked the Epic Games store in a while. I'm sure i missed what ever the last free game was. That's basically the only reason i have an account.

 

6 hours ago, Flesh420 said:

 

I buy my games on GoG.

I usually check on Steam first as they tend to get updates much quicker. One recent example: For Blood: Fresh Supply there was an option to opt in to a beta version while the GOG version didn't have that option and you had to wait for the official patch to come out.

 

I do like how GOG has quite a few older classics that tend to work better then the Steam versions (a lot better usually) and yes being DRM free also helps.

 

Hopefully someday physical copies make a comeback and not just in a limited edition type form.

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I see the point on fragmentation, but it's good to have some competition.  I think the 30% cut Steam takes is indefensible.

 

If they don't make the leap into streaming this model might be declining soon enough anyway.  I just hope the model that comes with the streaming era will be more Netflix than Spotify.

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Posted (edited)

i don't want a single hub or multiple hubs

i wanna email individuals who have made their own games and send them money and i want that to be viable

i want weird devs to have their own websites and not require intermediaries

i bought baba is you and celeste and other stuff on steam cos that's how you buy them and insanely-creative indie stuff is worth supporting

hypnospace outlaw is worth supporting

but i'd rather all the money got to them and none went to the incredibly unimportant distributers

people whose major gift to the world is a layer of frustration and a huge fucking planet destroying server farm

send me a friggin .exe i love you and your game

 

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Posted (edited)
18 hours ago, Dark Pulse said:

Stuff about multiple launchers

 

This is hardly why people are criticizing the store. Every couple of days they are on the frontpage of news and youtube with yet another big fuck up. Just fresh out of the oven includes the sale fuck up (Doesn't matter if they warned devs with a shitty message, an opt-out sale on pre-orders and games that never went on sale is just fucking stupid), and their huge respect for user info is getting traction today:

Spoiler

qhpn9c41jmz21.png

 

Yes, they sent all info they had about a user to a wrong person somehow. 

 

Edit : Oh yea let's not forget that they'll BAN you from their own store if you buy too many games too quickly. Such as during their stupid sale.

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13 hours ago, Doom64hunter said:

You're right in that there is most likely no way to compete with Steam without resorting to tactics like these.

 

However, at the same time you won't get any competition you, as the paying customer, will benefit from with the EGS. That's because their whole plan is to spend as little money as possible on the platform itself, and instead bribe developers with oodles of money, with the only condition being that their game will have to be an EGS exclusive. Then, as more and more games become EGS exclusives, the paying customer won't have any choice but to install the EGS eventually, no matter its quality, whether they want to or not. As such they are not competing for the customers by offering a better service, they are competing for the developers by waving around wads of cash. (as well as other minor things like having no discussion hub to moderate, or no mandatory review system, both of which benefit the customer and both of which many AAA developers don't like)

Well, let's be blunt, the end game is indeed to get people installing your client so you can sell them your product. It is, after all, business, and business needs customers.

 

That said, a lot of your argument is actually pretty bunk.

  • They have said a lot of the features like friends and so on will be forthcoming. It's easy to forget Steam didn't really have this stuff at launch either. With Fortnite being so big, however, Epic would be very foolish to forego adding social components.
  • Epic has said that if Valve would reduce their cut down to the same 12% that Epic charges, they will stop seeking exclusives. This is clever - doing that will mean Valve will lose a major source of income, and Epic looks like the good guy. If Valve calls their bluff however, this gets really interesting. Both companies got deep pockets.
  • Games aren't permanently exclusive, for the most part; they are time-limited.

A lot of these arguments might be true if the service never changes, but that's extremely unlikely.

 

13 hours ago, Doom64hunter said:

Since this kind of spending is very likely not sustainable over long periods of time, I'm thinking that their end goal is to put Steam and GOG out of business and become the new major hub for gaming needs that gets to dictate prices. Only this time with a barebones store that doesn't even have a shopping cart.

GoG, maybe, because they are much smaller, but GoG's niche is still specializing in older games.

 

Valve and Steam will never get put out of business though. It's simply too big at this point. Gaming distribution would have to fundamentally change to wreck Steam - because it's very, very hard to improve it, and you can't even starve it since plenty of smaller devs who can't start up their own digital distribution platform will still flock to its massive user base.

 

6 hours ago, Pegg said:

 

This is hardly why people are criticizing the store. Every couple of days they are on the frontpage of news and youtube with yet another big fuck up. Just fresh out of the oven includes the sale fuck up (Doesn't matter if they warned devs with a shitty message, an opt-out sale on pre-orders and games that never went on sale is just fucking stupid), and their huge respect for user info is getting traction today:

  Hide contents

qhpn9c41jmz21.png

 

Yes, they sent all info they had about a user to a wrong person somehow. 

 

Edit : Oh yea let's not forget that they'll BAN you from their own store if you buy too many games too quickly. Such as during their stupid sale.

Definitely bad (especially for accidentally revealing the info), but the sales stuff was definitely growing pains.

 

It is bad that Epic didn't exactly test these scenarios as much as they should have, but on the flip side, play devil's advocate for a second: What digital store's launch period has ever gone flawlessly and without issue?

 

I can't think of one, anyway.

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30 minutes ago, Dark Pulse said:

 

That said, a lot of your argument is actually pretty bunk.

  • They have said a lot of the features like friends and so on will be forthcoming. It's easy to forget Steam didn't really have this stuff at launch either. With Fortnite being so big, however, Epic would be very foolish to forego adding social components.

Steam was launched in 2003 where online marketplaces were barely a thing, let alone features like friends lists, achievements etc.

I'd expect a bit more from a store launched in December 2018, wouldn't you? Nobody forced their hand to launch it before those features were available after all.

 

39 minutes ago, Dark Pulse said:

Epic has said that if Valve would reduce their cut down to the same 12% that Epic charges, they will stop seeking exclusives. This is clever - doing that will mean Valve will lose a major source of income, and Epic looks like the good guy. If Valve calls their bluff however, this gets really interesting. Both companies got deep pockets.

 

Right, and you'd have to be a fool to believe them. How exactly do anti-competitive tactics, such as selling at a loss, make Epic look like the good guys?

46 minutes ago, Dark Pulse said:

Games aren't permanently exclusive, for the most part; they are time-limited. 

During which most of the lifetime sales of a game occur. Epic isn't stupid, they know they can make themselves look better by having a time limit on exclusives, even though it really makes no difference to them. Ain't nobody gonna wait 6 months, let alone a year, for a massively anticipated game just because it's not on the right platform.

 

51 minutes ago, Dark Pulse said:

 

That said, a lot of your argument is actually pretty bunk.

A lot of these arguments might be true if the service never changes, but that's extremely unlikely.

My argument was that Epic is competing for the developers, and that this does not create any form of competition the paying customer benefits from.

This is supported by many basic features, like user reviews, wishlists and a shopping cart not being available yet. They clearly aren't offering a superior service to Steam at the moment, and all their exclusive dealing does for the customer is offering less freedom of choice.

 

These features being on the roadmap means nothing, in fact in the last two months the only two features that have been completed were an Arabic store translation and supporting game releases in Korea. I would be surprised if even half of the features are done by the indicated deadline.

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I agree with Doom64hunter. And to make it clear I'm no fan of monopoly and there is no reason for me to be a steam fanboy.

 

There is a lack of value and simply an inconvenience to the customer. In Marketing products you usually have a push and pull strategy. I.e. a Energy Drink Company wants to sell their product to a supermarket so they need to offer value to the middleman to stock it and value to the customer to want to buy it.

 

In this scenario it's the Supermarket that's pushing itself while both the game developers and customers are in a stronger position of power.

 

The push is offering excellent deals to the developers and the pull for the customers are... lesser platform, inconvenience (to varying degrees), a sense of being forced with a pseudo monopoly on products. So Epic Games definitely earned criticism.

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Posted (edited)

Then speak with one's wallet, pure and simple. If you think their practices are somehow that abhorrent, don't buy from them. You'll just have to wait it out and deal with it, like every other game that's exclusive, if you refuse to patronize their store.

 

Don't get me wrong, I definitely think the Epic Store can be improved - massively. I also think they launched it far too early. But I also think something needed to be done to actually be a viable threat to Steam - and yes, I say that having literally thousands of products in my Steam account amassed mostly over the last decade.

 

Unfortunately, even if the Epic Store offered an identical experience to Steam - friends platform, communities, guides, the works - the simple fact is that so many people are invested with Steam that, as I said earlier, if you were given a choice between the platforms, there's really only two ways Epic can coax you over to their store versus simply adding it to your Steam library:

  1. Lock up the game for a set amount of time, meaning if people want to play it when it's new, you're forced to use their store, OR
  2. Sell the game at a lower price than Valve, generally by paying the publisher a certain amount of money per-copy in order to make the game's price point lower.

That's it. That's the only two ways you're beating Steam - even if you're a functionally identical clone. People are so invested in Steam that without being forced to go elsewhere or being given a steep discount (that will cost Epic far more than the exclusivity deal, in all likelihood), people are not going to go to the Epic store, making it virtually worthless and useless. The first option makes publishers happy but pisses off users. The second makes both users and publishers happy, but costs $$$$$$$$$$.

 

That's the power of a monopoly, and that's why I said you can either have a competitor needing to have something different or cheaper to offer, or you can sign up publishers to make your platform the launch platform. But otherwise, you've got no real way to convince people to use your stuff, and that means you're crushed.

 

Fortnite is big business right now, but Epic knows it won't last forever. The love afair with Minecraft didn't last forever. WW2 shooters being pumped out on an annual basis didn't last forever. They've got to get people invested in them if they want to make money once the Fortnite craze dies; the store is their vector.

 

Just so happens that in order to make a dent, you have to rub some people the wrong way, and put simply, Epic can afford to lose users, while losing publishers is a death knell.

 

Games are, after all, a business. Never forget that. You're spending money to make money. Make it back or go bankrupt.

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Posted (edited)

(mumbles) i don't have steam client installed. i don't have origin client installed. nor gog. now i have one more client to not install. don't understand what people are talking about: it doesn't matter how much of that crap you don't need to install...

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