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Epic Games Stores Says Its Exclusive Games Strategy Is About Helping Devs

(Image credit: Konstantin Savusia/Shutterstock)

For some time now, Epic Games has been courting a wide variety of developers to release their games as exclusives on the Epic Games Store. Amid continuing backlash, founder Tim Sweeney has stepped in to explain Epic Games Store's methods. 

The Fornite developer has suffered criticism for this strategy among gamers. While some are only interested in when they can play upcoming titles and not where, there's a vocal group that's vehemently against Epic's push for exclusive games on its platform.  Take the recent controversy surrounding Shenmue III. After developer Ys Net confirmed that the game will be an Epic Games Store exclusive for PC gamers, Kickstarter backers expressed anger and frustration, saying they specifically requested Steam keys when they made their pledges.

In April, Sweeney claimed the Epic Games Store would stop with the exclusives if Steam adopted its revenue model (Epic's split is 88%/12% in favor of developers, Steam's is 70/30). Now, Sweeney is attempting to illuminate the thought process behind this initiative. The exec took to social media with a series of tweets, explaining that exclusivity deals are part of a longer-term solution meant to improve cuts for developers.

According to Sweeney, simply offering a better cut for creators isn't going to change the industry standard rates. Instead, Epic Games believes in purchasing exclusive games at scale in an effort to pressure Steam to reduce their cut.

"After years of great work by independent stores (excluding big publishers like EA-Activision-Ubi), none seem to have reached 5% of Steam’s scale," wrote Sweeney. "Nearly all have more features than Epic; and the ability to discount games is limited by various external pressures." He added that these outside factors lead to the "strategy of exclusives," which indeed may be "unpopular" with Steam gamers, but it does work.

Sweeney also said that the tactic could indeed be seen as aggressive, but it's “proportionate to the problem it addresses." With Epic's long-term goal of lowering the cuts that platforms like Steam take from developers as an industry-wide standard, the strategy does start to make more sense.

"If the Epic strategy either succeeds in building a second major storefront for PC games with an 88/12 revenue split, or even just leads other stores to significantly improve their terms, the result will be a major wave of reinvestment in game development and a lowering of costs," he summarized.

This may not be the most optimal solution for gamers resistant to change, or those who prefer Steam to the Epic Games Store, but it does appear that Sweeney and company believe this is a viable option to better the industry as a whole. And with a goal like that in mind, it's honestly hard to fault them – though we'll grant you the fact that it is a pain to constantly have to swap between launchers. 

  • rugupiruvu
    And with a goal like that in mind, it's honestly hard to fault them

    Is this a sponsored piece? I'm baffled reading a line like this.
    Take just a moment to think about the situation, please.
    Think about what exclusivity means in the long run and the kind of damage it can cause.
    Reply
  • Somasonic
    Yeah, I'm sure Ubi and 2K Games (among others) really need the 'help'. I call BS.
    Reply
  • hotaru251
    help devs?

    you sign them to exclusivity.
    you are instantly cutting off potential buyers.
    Reply
  • AndrewJacksonZA
    "though we'll grant you the fact that it is a pain to constantly have to swap between launchers. "
    You have GOT to be kidding me!! What an absolutely terrible, horrible thing to have to be forced to endure!
    Reply
  • Phaaze88
    Support the devs... would be nice to actually do that. The backbone doesn't even see that extra income - it goes straight to the greedy publishers' pockets.
    Yet, not one positive thing to be seen with Epic's exclusivity deals:pfff:
    Reply
  • gamergeek
    Yes, they are totally doing it out of the kindness of their hearts. Also loot boxes don't exist to make money they are only there because they are a fun addition to any game.
    Reply
  • thegriff
    It seems that if they didn't do the exclusivity that they could charge less for the game than Steam then the gamers would have a choice of Steam or EPIC game store to get the game, if they want cheaper then go to EPIC and for just convenience they go Steam. So, the gamers could be helping the developers if they want and not be forced to add "ANOTHER" game store to have to log in to, which is a pain.
    Reply
  • tshinhar
    This is such a BS
    that guy thinks we are all idiots
    He could have done much better by putting all that money for selling games cheaper like 45-50$ instead of 60$
    All he wants is to use the billions from fortnite to create a big platform by paying off developers so that when fortnite dies he can still make money
    It's just predatory and anti consumer in every way and he knows that.
    And on top of that the epic game store is such a bad software like with all that money at least invest in a decent software but then again why would he? He can just buy exclusives
    Reply
  • Phaaze88
    tshinhar said:
    This is such a BS
    that guy thinks we are all idiots
    He could have done much better by putting all that money for selling games cheaper like 45-50$ instead of 60$
    All he wants is to use the billions from fortnite to create a big platform by paying off developers so that when fortnite dies he can still make money
    It's just predatory and anti consumer in every way and he knows that.
    And on top of that the epic game store is such a bad software like with all that money at least invest in a decent software but then again why would he? He can just buy exclusives
    Not trying to defend the guy, but there are people, unlike us, who aren't aware of the truth of the matter, and those who just don't care - if they want a product bad enough, they'll get it from wherever.
    They know this, and are using them to their advantage.
    Reply
  • cjmcgee
    If Epic was competing on price (or even features) and stuff was cheaper over there I would seriously be considering buying stuff on their platform. But, with the exclusives it feels like they are trying to "force" me to buy them on their platform against my will, which makes me hate Epic. Lying to our face like this just makes that hate stronger. They are doing exclusives to gain market share; claiming it is some altruistic motive when everyone can see right through that just makes people trust them less.
    Reply