Whether you own an Xbox, a PlayStation , Switch, Mobile phone, PC or a combination of the 5, gamers have quite the variety of places to play. The idea of console exclusive games provides incentives for us as consumers to choose where we decide to spend our hard earned money if we don’t have the means to own all platforms. For a long time this idea of console exclusives created heated debates as to which brand was winning the “console war”. But Epic Games I believe is using this idea of exclusives in a predatory way to gain market share in the once tight-knit PC world.
Epic Games, known for the successful Fornite battle royale game, just recently launched their Epic Games store to provide another platform to release games for commercial consumption. In comparison to Steam, the other prominent PC gaming store, Epic’s revenue splits are better with a 88-12 split in favor of developers.
As it is a welcome addition to add for more diversity and competition in where gamers can find and potentially sell their creations, Epic Games has used this leverage to enlist notable publishers to sign exclusive deals to have new games be sold there through timed-releases. Games like Borderlands 3, Metro: Exodus and The Division 2 all have signed for exclusive releases on Epic Games store on PC.
The difference between this practice being done on PC and it being done on consoles is with PC it’s creating a divide in its once solidified community. Consoles have always had their exclusives to drive sales for their hardware. If you can only find certain games on certain consoles, it provides more reasoning to do in-depth research on the specs and notable features each hardware brings to the table.
In the PC community, there is no real drive to sell the hardware itself from the gaming community apart from upgrading parts to be able to run the newest game at its most optimal performance level. PC users also now have to shop at multiple stores to access full game libraries. I understand certain tactics need to be done to ensure Epic Games is successful in growing but there are definitely other ways to do it.
From the above picture it is notable that the Epic Games Store is lacking in many key features that are already present with Steam. If Epic Games truly wanted to be a beneficial launcher to gamers, it would have made sense to do the necessary research to see what kind of things gamers, especially on PC, use to make their experience enjoyable. Releasing the launcher without basic things like user profiles, user reviews and wish lists hurts the credibility of it being a sustainable launcher to replace Steam. I’m not saying that it could not potentially become a better launcher with time in the industry but the way it is using its exclusive deals to bully its way into the industry is doing more harm to the PC gaming community than it is benefiting it.
Competition is key within the capitalistic climate of business we live in. And though steam has had a sizable lead in the PC world for some time, Epic’s practice of buying up prominent releases to pigeonhole gamers into using their launcher isn’t a consumer friendly as lead to believe. But in a fight for consumer attention and money, its a battle royale where winner takes all. For more information on this topic Matthew Gault of Motherboard Vice wrote an informative article titled Why Are Gamers Mad About a Real Competitor to Steam?. It highlights the same issues I brought up while putting into perspective some of the good that comes out of the competition between Epic and Valve. Despite where you lie on the matter let me know what you think about the points brought up within this post and article.