Epic Games’ new store is not only taking the fight to Steam by giving developers a bigger cut of their games’ earnings – it’s locking down exclusive games, too.
So far, six developers have said their games will be exclusive to the Epic store for a while, in some cases up to a year. These include interesting indies like Hades and Ashen, as well as Super Meat Boy Forever, which will launch in April 2019 and be exclusive to the Epic store for a year.
The Epic store is “desperately needed to get Steam to give a shit,” said Team Meat’s Tommy Refenes in the game’s Discord channel (via PC Gamer). Refenes, like many other developers of Epic store-exclusive games, noted that some fans are upset that they’ll have to use multiple apps to play their game libraries. “It may [mean] more launchers, sure, but a small price to pay for a developer community that doesn’t feel like they have one choice on PC.”
Hades, the stylish new roguelite from Pyre developer Supergiant, was one of the Epic store’s flagship launch games last week. It will be exclusive to Epic’s store until Early Access is complete, for “at least a year and a half,” the game’s creative director Greg Kasavin told Kotaku. Hades will likely come to Steam after that, he said.
Goat Simulator developer Coffee Stain Studios’ next game, Satisfactory, will also be launching exclusively on Epic’s store. Coffee Stain went so far as to take down Satisfactory’s Steam page, something that did not sit will with fans.
“I know a lot of people are gonna have strong opinions on that,” said community manager Jace Varley in a video. “Cool. Have those opinions.” Varley said that he understands the decision to use only the Epic store isn’t necessarily going to make everyone happy and said it was “incredibly frustrating” to not be able to tell people sooner.
The very cool-looking cowboy space shooter Rebel Galaxy Outlaw will also be exclusive to the Epic Games store for a year. “Achieving Epic’s goals on the royalty front means more developers succeeding and surviving and making more good stuff,” wrote the game’s developers in an FAQ.
First-person roguelite ship builder Genesis Alpha One will be exclusive to the Epic store for an undisclosed period of time, and a planned “playable preview” that was to come to Steam has been shelved, for now at least. Developer Team 17 was conciliatory to an audience frustrated by the sudden change of plans. “We understand this might be disappointing, and this was a tough decision to make but we believe this will help Genesis Alpha One get off to the best possible start,” it wrote in a Steam post.
For now, some fans aren’t taking these announcements incredibly well, given that Steam has been their one-stop PC gaming shop for years, and they’ve got communities and libraries of hundreds of un-played sale games there. But sudden change is messy and difficult – especially when it’s kept under lock and key by a bunch of NDAs ahead of an award show announcement. Here’s hoping that after all of Epic’s talk, the new store can actually create change for the better.