Hey guys.. give Epic Games a break yeah?
If there's one thing I don't like about internet culture it's their knee jerk reaction to most ideas/news/announcements. The majority of the time it's a flip of a coin when a new trailer or announcement is made, then the hive-mind just regurgitates what the initial reaction was. Case in point: Epic Games Store. Since its announcement it has been greeted with sighs and tuts, and a general consensus of 'Why are doing this'. This rhetoric is compounded when a major (or indie) title announces it will be launching on the platform. My thoughts are.. who gives a shit?
First to market doesn't mean best in market
First of all, let's take a look at the state of the current offering on PC: Steam. (Alright yeah Origin too but that's not even worth the effort). Honestly speaking, Steam is tired. Big, tired and clunky. I honestly can't remember the last time I thought 'Oh that's a neat new feature' when perusing Steam. The funny thing is I predicted this ages ago. The same goes for any business that is first to market with a game-changing product or service, I've worked IRL with several businesses like this. It's rapid expansion leading marketing dominance, but when you sit at the top unchallenged for a while, you go stale. Being challenged makes you innovate. I'm far from a capitalist but the mantra of competition drives innovation does ring true in some cases. This being one. So isn't it about time we had a challenger game publishing platform? Something that's going to shake things up, hopefully for the benefit of us?
I'm going to caveat the above point by saying Epic Game Store is far from 'parity' with steam. It's missing a lot of core functionality (i.e. cloud save). But its roadmap is ambitious.
Better deal for developers?
Okay, so we might get better more streamlined gaming services, what about the developers? The arguably larger benefit of more choice, is improved revenue share for developers. Currently Steams revenue model is 70/30 whilst Epic is offering more to devs with a model of 88/12. Immediately the benefit to independent studios is massive. I've seen some arguments that Epic are buying their way into the market... well of course they are! That's the only way you would be able to compete with the behemoth that is Steam. And if it's more money in studios pockets well that's cool with me.
Exclusive or divisive
The crux of the Epic Games Store hate I think can be traced to the issue of exclusive titles. To be fair, I can understand why there has been frustration here. Essentially Epic Games has been on a frenzy of securing exclusives for their store. That in itself I don't have an issue with, and if we are real, it's to be expected. The issue is when developers renege on their promises of delivering the game to steam, and secure an Epic Store exclusive. One example is Metro Exodus. Steam had already begun taking preorders on Metro Exodus which subsequently had to be refunded.
Okay, the above is a fair point, but I don’t think it warrants the amount of hate Epic Games has received.
The China Connection
This is where the hive-mind paranoia came into its own. Users on Reddit crawled through the Epic Game Stores code and came up with some anomalies. Rather than ask Epic or consider sensible options, they ‘outed’ Epic on Reddit saying it’s Chinese Spyware tracking all your movements. It turns out the code was used to track revenue for UE4 game assets…
This outrage was compounded by the fact that Epic Games had received huge amounts of funding from Tencent, a pretty fucking huge Chinese omni-corporation. Okay yeah, Tencent themselves are pretty scary, but they also invest in EVERYTHING. Ubisoft and Riot have had funding from Tencent. Hell even SnapChat and Elite:Dangerous have had money off them. So it’s a bit odd to get outraged for this?
The Real Reason
Let’s face it. The real reason why people have a problem with Epic Game Store is this: Fortnite is one of the most successful companies of all times, and also the most ‘hated’ by ‘real’ gamers. Hating on stuff is a meme. So it’s easy to paint a target on the company that produced it, and try to taint anything else they try e.g. Epic Games Store. Create memes from it, and circlejerk behind its back.
Time to grow up. Give Epic Games Store a chance. It might suck, it might make Steam be better. Who knows. But it doesn’t deserve the hate.