So, a while ago, I had this discussion with a few people on my stream and in essence, I think Epic Games may not actually be too bad… I mean, yes, the stuff about the exclusive deals on games that are already up for pre-order on Steam is funky but in those cases, the developers are also at fault for taking the deal.
What I mean is that funding is important and money doesn’t grow on trees. If you want to create a great game, you need a lot of money, most of the time. The lines between Indie Games and Not-Indie Games are kinda blurry. There aren’t really any great definitions for what is considered Indie and what isn’t. If a developer had a million dollars in funding available to them but it’s their first game and they create a top-notch title: Is that still Indie? Probably not. But I’d argue that most low-budget games would be Indie titles and some of them are really good but end up not progressing fast enough for their fans to enjoy it in their digital stores. So, a deal by Epic Games can be pretty great! We’ve seen it with Ooblets, Satisfactory, and Untitled Goose Game that these games turned out great. In Satisfactory’s case, it’s progressing more and more and the updates are frequent and plentiful. When players preorder games on Steam and the game suddenly turns into an Epic Games exclusive, that’s mostly because the developers needed the money or wanted more money. Epic Games has these deals that enable a lot of developers to create great games and even if the game makes a loss, Epic Games will still pay out a lot of money to them. Their cut is also better than at Steam and overall, money’s important.
So, naturally, people argue that you can’t fault the developers for taking those deals but at the same time, people are faulting Epic Games for making those deals which is… hypocritical? I feel like you’d have to fault both parties in those cases or none. Everything past that is stupid.
Wilhelm over at TAGN wrote about Epic Games before and about how it’s a competitor for Steam. Similarly, he also talked about the Apple/EGS lawsuit over here. I recommend checking those out btw… But either way, what I got from those posts and the information within is… It’s not that bad really. Because of these lawsuits and the aggressive deals that Sweeney is taking, changes are coming to Steam, the Google Playstore, Apple, and other storefronts. Steam pretty much has a monopoly. GOG is pretty great, too, but nobody cares about Uplay, Origin, and so on. If Epic Games’ launcher wasn’t so slow and annoying and if it had user reviews, screenshots, curator pages, and achievements, I’d argue that it would be a serious competitor… but even in its current stage with the creator codes and all the deals and free games, it is doing something. It’s creating an alternative to Steam and I wonder if someday Steam might try to innovate even more, reducing the cut it takes from smaller devs or maybe adding other cool new features that will increase our quality of life on the platform as customers, players, and friends. I mean, it’s similar to Mixer, YouTube and Twitch: Without competition, things stagnate. While Mixer was around, Twitch had to sign exclusive deals as well and develop new features that are only around over there. I think the competition would be great for digital storefronts.
And well, since GOG Galaxy is around, I doubt that players can make the argument of “I have all of my games on Steam” anymore. Epic Games is handing out freebies and hence, people’s backlogs over there are rising as well… Speaking of freebies, I’ve read somewhere that the strategy with that is to not only “lure” people but to also promote these games that people wouldn’t have played otherwise! By giving away For The King, people got to know the game a lot better and eventually bought it on Steam as well because of the achievements and better features. Devs profit double. Sure, that’s not the case for everyone but… heck, I played on a cracked version of Minecraft for a long time as a kid and eventually bought it myself. “If I can get it for free, why would I also pay money for it?”, you may ask – but in essence, it just feels like the right thing to do.
Maybe I’m being naive or I’m just gullible, but I feel like the whole thing is a bit too one-sided and the discussion pops up now and then and people usually take Steam’s side over Epic Games. Yes, there are some serious dick-moves here and there when it comes to Epic Games but it also supports a lot of Indie devs with better cuts and good deals. I may not be the biggest fan of Epic Games but I feel like it’s not as bad as people portray it to be and I just wanted to voice some thoughts on the matter without taking any sides. I feel like you can’t just shit on Epic Games all day without thinking about it once, realising that it’s competition for Steam. And competition is good for any market. It breeds innovation and ideas as well as plenty of potential improvements.
Just some thoughts, not necessarily a lot of opinions here. I’m kind of neutral nowadays on the matter but I think Epic Games can’t be the devil in the gaming industry. Blizzard fucked up too much for that. Similarly, Riot Games also fucked up and Epic Games is owned partially by Tencent, so that’s an issue. Overall, I believe that there are good sides to Epic Games’ appearance even if the launcher isn’t as good as Steam’s.