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Epic Games Store's timed exclusive practice

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Epic Store Expectation vs Reality.jpg

When Epic Games announced their store launch, fan reaction was initially positive, as many hoped that it would give Valve's Steam platform some serious and well needed competition as to motivate Valve to run their platform more seriously. However, the launch was not well received due to various bugs and lacking features that were absent in Steam, but the biggest point of contention is Epic's string of goading publishers into signing timed exclusivity deals with the platform. The first known case was with Metro Exodus, which was initially intended to be on Steam until a few weeks prior to the release with Deep Silver making a contract at the last minute.

Why This Practice Sucks

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  1. While it's true that Epic Games giving Valve competition was a good thing, this is considered a very underhanded and unfair method of doing so due to clutter and fragmentation with multiple platforms.
  2. Many of the exclusivity deals are made shortly before release. This leads to bad PR and can sour the relationship between developers and their fans. The most infamous examples of this are with Metro Exodus and Ooblets, with the former being turned into an exclusive despite having already been available for pre-purchase on Steam, and made one of the developers say they'll boycott PC gaming, and the latter being so bad that the developers got their own page here as a result.
    • Some PC physical copies that have a code for Epic Store just have a sticker over the Steam logo, due to last-minute deals.
  3. The act itself is rather predatory, as instead of providing better service or creating better games themselves, the Epic Game Store instead pushes other developers and publishers and tempts them to move works that were originally planned to be published on Steam to their own, forcing players to use an inferior service that lacks basic features such as reviews, cloud saving, achievements and even a shopping cart.
  4. Thanks to Epic's shenanigans, as well as their arrogant stance on it, not only are people losing faith in crowdfunding games faster than ever due to many of them, such as Shenmue III and Phoenix Point originally planned for Steam prior to being moved to Epic, they indirectly brought back pirating as a major consumer practice.
  5. It's not just that, but anytime an indie developer declines an offer, Epic refuses to allow said developer to sell their game in their store. The developer of DARQ can confirm this, as he politely declined said offer, but wasn't given a chance to sell his product non-exclusively.
  6. Unlike Sony (except for Quantic Dream, who has their said titles as timed exclusives), Microsoft and Nintendo, who have their own exclusive game developed in-house for their respective platforms, Epic isn't even making their own games for the Epic Store and using that as an incentive to download the launcher, due to them being busy with milking Fortnite (especially Battle Royale mode) to death.

Redeeming Qualities

  1. Some third-party PC games are announced to be on the Epic Game Store first before on other platforms and sometimes forever, instead of being originally announced to be on Steam and then removing it from the platform and releasing on the Epic Store as a timed exclusive.
  2. While this doesn't excuse Epic, it should be considered that Epic is not forcing exclusivity on developers and publishers, it only gives them offers and deals, so it's not just them to blame for this.

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