Epic Games Store
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The Epic Games Store is a digital game store operated by Epic Games and launched in December 8, 2018 as both a website and a standalone launcher.
Epic entered the distribution market after the success of Fortnite, which Epic distributed by their own channels to users on Windows and macOS system rather than other storefronts. According to Tim Sweeney, the CEO and founder of Epic Games, had stated that a revenue cut of Valve's Steam game store, the dominant online game store, is way too high (30%), he then claimed that they could run a store with as little cut as 8% and still profitable. At launch, Epic Games had settled on a 12% revenue cut for titles published through the store, as well as dropping the licensing fees for games built on their Unreal Engine, normally 5% of the revenue.
Epic Games enticed developers and publishers to the service by offering them time-exclusivity agreements to publish on the storefront, in exchange for assured minimum revenue, even if Epic made a loss on under-performing games. Epic also offered users one or two free games each week for the first two years of its operation to help draw users.
Why It Isn't Epic
- While it is nice that Epic Store is giving Steam competition, the way it's doing so isn't exactly fair as Epic Games makes exclusivity deals with publishers/developers to keep their games away from other launchers as opposed to providing a better service themselves.
- Given the amount of money they made from Fortnite, they can afford to make their own games to make the platform more appealing, so it doesn't make much sense to buy up exclusive games from third-party devs.
- It used to lack a lot of features when compared to other Launchers such as Steam, GOG or even Blizzard's Battle.net, EA's Origin and Ubisoft Connect, such as a shopping cart (which is used to prevent cards being locked up due to a quick succession of purchases).
- Considering the store wasn't even close to being ready at launch due to the aforementioned major lack of features. Taking too long to implement them ended up souring their reputation among detractors.
- To make matters worse, The Epic Store was announced and released during The Game Awards 2018. This means that the Epic Games Store was rushed for Christmas 2018.
- Restrictive DRM that requires players to be online at all times, even if the game isn't online-only.
- Epic often buys out third party games to be timed exclusives for their platform instead of developing their own exclusive games. Essentially held a partial monopoly over these games.
- Some PC physical copies (like Metro Exodus) that have a code for Epic Store just have a sticker over the Steam logo, due to last-minute deals.
- The launcher itself is extremely horrible and can slow down your computer. It also eats a lot of memory while it is trying to download or update games, a problem that isn't present in its' other competitors.
- This is because Steam first preallocates the space and the files using dummy files and installs them at the same time it downloads them. This is faster and with a more consistent performance.
- EGS preallocates the space, downloads the files, and then it installs them once all of them are downloaded. This causes a performance spike at the end and is slower overall.
- Extremely vulnerable to hacking. In fact, there are people who reported having two accounts stolen. The store overall has a lot of security flaws and many reports that users got malware due to the lack of security.
- Due to the lack of various basic features as well as technical problems, the store suffers from transaction/installation problems, such as:
- Poorly implemented fraud prevention. If a user buys too many games in a short period, Epic will block your account.
- Dreadful customer support. Many users who asked for refunds didn't get them despite meeting the conditions.
- There are times where the user will try to purchase a game, the purchase fails, but Epic still takes the money.
- Installing and uninstalling a game often requires you to open the launcher as administrator. The install/uninstall process will fail otherwise.
- The review system allows developers to disable reviews for their games and delete reviews that they don't like, which can help toxic developers defend themselves against criticism, or worse, outright scam players out of their money.
- These features, as well as the DRM systems, were based on WeGame store launcher created by Tencent, the parent of Epic Games.
- No universal controller support, which is unacceptable in today's standards.
- No regional pricing, meaning that games are insanely expensive outside of the US. (That's currently fixed).
- Overly harsh penalties: If you get banned in one game, you get banned on the entire platform.
- It is region locked, which is bizarre and laughably stupid in 2022.
- Following Steam banning games that feature NFTs (non-fungible tokens) or cryptocurrency in October 2021, the Epic Games Store proudly announced they would allow those games, despite the fact that , and that they hypocritically claimed to be against NFTs themselves.
- The first NFT game to be published is Gala Games's Grit , marketed as a to get NFT items.
- It has massively improved over the years, adding more features like the aforementioned shopping cart, as well as achievements, wishlist and more, though it was pretty late to an multibillion company like Epic Games.
- Despite its multiple problems, the store does offer some real competition to Steam and has proven to be a more stable platform for indie developers.
- Developers get 88% revenue of their games unlike Steam (70%, increased to 75% after $10 million in sales, and 80% after $50 million) which is very great for actual indie developers.
- The store isn't clogged with massive amounts of shovelware and non-functional garbage that normally drowns indie games on Steam, partly due to the fact that there is no exploitable Direct-esque feature on Epic.
- The stores frequently gives away more free games than Steam. It even gives one or two games out for free every week, which is nice. In fact, many people use the EGS to get those free games, and most of them range from good, to outstanding, like Grand Theft Auto V (which actually even crashed the store's servers due of many people trying to get the game) and Control. They even made an offer recently where new users can sign up for Discord Nitro and get three months for free!
- While it 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.
- The platform received some updates that address some of these issues.
- Unlike Steam, which charged you $5 just for the friend system to work, EGS had a simplistic friend system that lets you add your friends with ease.
At launch the store received positive reviews due to it being a strong competitor for Steam, but later it got heavily panned by Steam users and even non-Steam users because of how it handles exclusivity deals, being inferior when compared to other PC launchers, and for leaking private information, even Valve themselves started criticizing Epic Games for these and calling their exclusivity deals unfair to Steam players.