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No to Epic Games Exclusivity deals

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6 hours ago, ioci said:

Comparing to Amazon, Steam is an angel from hair to toe.

For those who think Epic is more friendly to developers than Steam, I would like to ask you, is there anything better than having the marketplace itself to help you worry about your own selling? And if they do a great job helping you to do the marketing, will you be rather happy to offer them an cut, let's say 18%?

But what if the marketplace you choose piss off your potential customers? And what if the marketplace you choose does not have enough data from its users to analysis so it don't know who is your potential customer?

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See that's a thing here also: There store itself needs to get funds also; the "shelvespace" is not free either
( which in case of digital store primarily are the database and other server-costs ).

"GoG.com" also are concluding their "Fair Price Package"-program because although they're still doing well enough, they want to have more funding for the future projects. And supposedly this "price-balancing"-service was making a quite big cut in their income.

"Epic Games" certainly are riding with the "Fornite"-moneys to somewhat "strong-arming" with the 3rd-party exclusivity-deals; in essence they're trying to create their own (temporary) pool of exclusives from other titles since they themselves simply lack their very own tittles in comparison to "Electronic Arts" and "Ubisoft", both which have decades of time to also gather numerous "second party" tittles under their wings.

(( Desura, when it existed, primarily competed being one of the very few small-developer-welcoming places before the "Steam Greenlight" and the "Early Access"-feature which certainly seemed to be heavily inspired by the "Alpha Funding"-program of Desura. ))

It is true that Steam certainly should have a much "organic"-administration and otherwise have less exploitative systems.
But just simply closing out a potential shopping-shelf is still not a smart choice, especially if there is simply no genuine financial gain from it
( well, at least in case of digital-products which don't cost any extra to produce per copy that is;
but even then more places you would be able to showcase your product at the better the sales turns out to be most of cases anyways, saying this as a person who used to work in a (independent) video-game-store ).

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Now, to balance a little bit to not sound like a "bandwagoning-Epic-hater", I personally can see some non-marketing perks for the people choosing to be Epic Store-exclusive.
Or at least having a choice as of writing this since this could change in the future:
It's mainly because "Unreal Engine" belongs to Epic Games: They could possibly make it so in the future that all the the commercial-games made in Unreal Engine have to Epic Store-exclusive
(and currently they're offering "discount" for the license if they're selling their Unreal Engine-powered game via Epic Store).

On the relation of the engine, the infrastructure of Epic Store could offer some neat perks, especially for multiplayer-games:
This is at least the case with game called "Dauntless" who are working to get their game work to be a multi-cross-platform-multiplayer-title
( as for the already existing cross-platform-multiplayer-tittles build on Unreal Engine such as "Rocket League" which have the infrastructure build within Valve's Steam, I doubt Epic Games will try to dismantle those).

Being Epic Store-exclusive possibly also might have the chance of getting more in-depth help with game-engine itself also;
even the customers are invited over the Unreal Engine Gifthub-page.

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Of course, I am simply going with my own personal assumptions in that above section, so there might be some misunderstood-information.

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As a gamer, I'm slightly disappointed in Phoenix Point going exclusive to the Epic store.

As an equity crowdfunder who is getting a cut of the payment, I can see the appeal.

And I, personally, started using the Epic store in parallel with Steam early this year when they gave me Subnautica.

Given the amount of marketing budget they are throwing around for exclusivity deals and free stuff, I think that Epic Games is serious about becoming a competitor to Steam. Also, the one-year exclusive period, as I understand it, starts from the first sales of Early Access, so it will probably have expired well before the initial release of Phoenix Point.

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On 3/16/2019 at 7:49 AM, Pave said:

But just simply closing out a potential shopping-shelf is still not a smart choice, especially if there is simply no genuine financial gain from it

( well, at least in case of digital-products which don't cost any extra to produce per copy that is

This line of thinking is not correct, there is everything to gain from locking out a store if they take a massive cut of your product's cost.

Think of the 3 major catagories of people who will buy your game:
1) Fans, they will buy your game no matter what.
2) Strategy game lovers, will buy your game if they know about it and if the price is reasonable.
3) Discount purchasers, will buy your game, but only on a sale or if they can get a good deal.

You'll lose 18% on every copy of your game, if your fans buy it on steam, instead of some other store. They aren't about to buy it twice (usually). If the price is the same everywhere, they might buy it on steam simply because it's the supermonopoly and they already have steam installed.

Strategy game lovers, there is some benefit in having steam, since it's advertising your game for you. But I think the amount steam advertises is seriously oversold these days. There are so many games to be advertised on that store front and steam themselves know this has value, I am sure deals are going on because the "biggest" games, I.E. the ones by massive developers/companies are always on the frontpage. So I doubt Chris here could afford that kind of steam benefit.

Discount purchasers will always buy the cheapest copy they can find and have patience... if there is a massive discount on steam due to a steam sale... and steam is still taking 30%... what is left for you? Once they have their discount copy, they won't buy another one.

So, you can see that having your game on steam, can cost you pretty much everywhere where you can make a sale.

The idea that digital copies have no cost is patiently false. Once someone has a copy, they will not buy a second, so that is a potential sale you will never get, ever. A lot of bad sales, may be objectively worse than fewer good sales, where you get more of the profit.

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3 hours ago, Edmon said:

Think of the 3 major catagories of people who will buy your game:
1) Fans, they will buy your game no matter what.
2) Strategy game lovers, will buy your game if they know about it and if the price is reasonable.
3) Discount purchasers, will buy your game, but only on a sale or if they can get a good deal.

Exactly, for now, not publishing game on Steam could cause losing most potential buyers from the 2nd category you listed.

Gamer like me will search for key word like "upcoming strategy games in 2019-2020" on youtube or google (btw, these videos or article are quite time consuming, in other word, lacking the efficiency), but the frequency is rare comparing to how often I open the shortcut of Steam.exe which leads me to a window that has a storefront tab in the UI that is visually hard to miss where I can browse the latest recommendation from Steam. I purchased Xenonauts because I already owned the new Xcom in Steam. Steam has this information so it shows me Xenonauts along with some other games that share similar tag with Xcom. I find this game, Xenonauts, very interesting and since I'm already familiar with the payment on Steam and have confidence about Steam's refund policy, I added it to the cart and checked out. I own 129 titles on Steam, and I heard only few of them before the purchase. Also, I do believe that Steam has some deeper "big-data" thing running as well, not just sorting the users by tags from the games they own, but also collecting information like: for how long they spent with each tag value, which tags are included in their wishlist, the user's behavior with steam/third party's discounts, the average pricing on purchase in the library of a user, then build different modules according to the generic behaviors and classify/link the similar ones, so they can not only advertising (recommending) games for their players, but also probably able to provide some advises to the publishers(developers) on a promotion strategy if they feel necessary. The first page from video game storefront is the most valuable place, you just won't showing any game in storage there. Sadly, neither GOG nor Epic could obtain such vertically detailed & large user information database in the near future, it requires years occupying big part in the market, like what @Pave shares above about what resources Epic possess, Epic is, no doubt, a marketplace with hell lot of potential (greater advantage comparing to GOG) and have a very bright future, but it will take years to have its user to help generate such valuable database to make this new competitor a "Marketing-Worthy" choice.

Reviews on Steam is the other reason I choose Steam than others, even reviews from professional media like IGN couldn't compare to those home made buyer reviews because, those official reviews cannot cover every feature that potentially bothers me or interests me. Developers may hate those "mixed" or "mostly negative" labels, but I do need them to picture the first impression.

Besides, I'm more confident when purchasing on Steam. It's not that Steam offer a great purchase experience, but simply because I've been doing it for a while. For example, both Amazon and Ebay are great, but I only buy stuffs on Amazon, because it have my payment information saved.

 

 

In the other word: on Steam, you are more likely to sell more copies and snowball further your fan base.

Kickstarter + Steam + other store is the smartest combo a studio can have. From kickstarter, you get part of your fan base buying the game with a fixed price in a fixed currency (which skips the pricing zone policy from some stores like GOG and Steam) , then have it on stores to let your fan base know about it or to purchase in special zone pricing, after the reviews grows, more non-fan-base players will see it and may give it a try. 

Since every criticize I've heard here and there towards Steam is about that 18% cut, so I imagine that there is no other cost charged by these stores that had variation significant enough.

18% is not small, but upon the release(pricing), earning 18% extra from a sell of 7k copies can't compete with 10k copies without this extra:

Let's say, a game sells for 50 when release, may earn 50-6=44 on Epic, while on Steam is 50-6-9=35 . Means if Epic helps you sell X copies of your game, Steam need to sell X*1.25 copies to stay equal. But the fact is, at the moment, Steam can do better than this.

TLDR: Steam (at the moment and the near future, like 2-3 years) = Most Affordable&Effective Marketing Solution (Pay per Final Purchase) = Earning More

 

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On 3/15/2019 at 12:00 AM, Chris said:

What's interesting in that survey is the number of devs who feel that Steam earn their cut has dropped from 39% to 11% in the last year - I guess taking a 30% cut seems very reasonable for what they offer until someone starts offering a similar service taking a 12% cut instead. Note though that 60% of the devs agreed that Steam deserved their cut at some point in the past while they were partners, so I guess that aligns with how I feel ... Steam could do with some competition to get them back to their best, but there were definitely times in the past where their 30% cut was warranted.

30% probably felt a lot fairer back in the "good ol' days" when being on Steam was considered a guarantee of success. These days the cup runneth over and many games and developers drown in the deluge. 

In any case I'm not going to rage over the Epic deal and I'll take advantage of the free dlc but I can understand why people are pissed. Sadly "tech" is full of monopolies and Steam practically is one thus making Epic's strong arm tactics pretty much necessary sadly. Snapshot must've been offered an enormous amount of money to take on this shitstorm. 

Here's an important bit from pcgamer:

Quote

 

Gollop confirmed that Steam and GOG keys would still be given to backers after the exclusive year is up, and that the Epic Games Store version would be free of DRM. You can run it without the launcher, or you can stick it in your Steam library if you just want all your games in one place. This is the case with other Epic Store Games, too, like Subnautica: Below Zero and Metro Exodus.  

Backers will also receive a whole year of DLC, split across three DLC packs that include new storylines, factions and mechanics. The first will have a seabase and new missions. They might be worth redeeming that Epic Games Store key for, but if you don't, you'll still get that DLC with the GOG and Steam keys a year later. 

 

 

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Posted (edited)
2 hours ago, ioci said:

Exactly, for now, not publishing game on Steam could cause losing most potential buyers from the 2nd category you listed.

Gamer like me will search for key word like "upcoming strategy games in 2019-2020" on youtube or google (btw, these videos or article are quite time consuming, in other word, lacking the efficiency), but the frequency is rare comparing to how often I open the shortcut of Steam.exe which leads me to a window that has a storefront tab in the UI that is visually hard to miss where I can browse the latest recommendation from Steam. I purchased Xenonauts because I already owned the new Xcom in Steam. Steam has this information so it shows me Xenonauts along with some other games that share similar tag with Xcom. I find this game, Xenonauts, very interesting and since I'm already familiar with the payment on Steam and have confidence about Steam's refund policy, I added it to the cart and checked out. I own 129 titles on Steam, and I heard only few of them before the purchase. Also, I do believe that Steam has some deeper "big-data" thing running as well, not just sorting the users by tags from the games they own, but also collecting information like: for how long they spent with each tag value, which tags are included in their wishlist, the user's behavior with steam/third party's discounts, the average pricing on purchase in the library of a user, then build different modules according to the generic behaviors and classify/link the similar ones, so they can not only advertising (recommending) games for their players, but also probably able to provide some advises to the publishers(developers) on a promotion strategy if they feel necessary. The first page from video game storefront is the most valuable place, you just won't showing any game in storage there. Sadly, neither GOG nor Epic could obtain such vertically detailed & large user information database in the near future, it requires years occupying big part in the market, like what @Pave shares above about what resources Epic possess, Epic is, no doubt, a marketplace with hell lot of potential (greater advantage comparing to GOG) and have a very bright future, but it will take years to have its user to help generate such valuable database to make this new competitor a "Marketing-Worthy" choice.

Reviews on Steam is the other reason I choose Steam than others, even reviews from professional media like IGN couldn't compare to those home made buyer reviews because, those official reviews cannot cover every feature that potentially bothers me or interests me. Developers may hate those "mixed" or "mostly negative" labels, but I do need them to picture the first impression.

Besides, I'm more confident when purchasing on Steam. It's not that Steam offer a great purchase experience, but simply because I've been doing it for a while. For example, both Amazon and Ebay are great, but I only buy stuffs on Amazon, because it have my payment information saved.

 

 

In the other word: on Steam, you are more likely to sell more copies and snowball further your fan base.

Kickstarter + Steam + other store is the smartest combo a studio can have. From kickstarter, you get part of your fan base buying the game with a fixed price in a fixed currency (which skips the pricing zone policy from some stores like GOG and Steam) , then have it on stores to let your fan base know about it or to purchase in special zone pricing, after the reviews grows, more non-fan-base players will see it and may give it a try. 

Since every criticize I've heard here and there towards Steam is about that 18% cut, so I imagine that there is no other cost charged by these stores that had variation significant enough.

18% is not small, but upon the release(pricing), earning 18% extra from a sell of 7k copies can't compete with 10k copies without this extra:

Let's say, a game sells for 50 when release, may earn 50-6=44 on Epic, while on Steam is 50-6-9=35 . Means if Epic helps you sell X copies of your game, Steam need to sell X*1.25 copies to stay equal. But the fact is, at the moment, Steam can do better than this.

TLDR: Steam (at the moment and the near future, like 2-3 years) = Most Affordable&Effective Marketing Solution (Pay per Final Purchase) = Earning More

 

Your entire post is conjecture.

Where as, releasing on steam being a loss in profits of catagory 1 customers is a hard fact. As well as, the corresponding "bad sales" in all other catagories.

Steam is like youtube, if you are a nobody, don't expect steam/youtube to do anything for you. You are not about to appear on the front page or in any of the listings even for a moment, unless someone is already looking for you. In that case, they'll find you on humble, gog, epic, etc.

People like steam because everything is in one place, because it's a monoploy. But while it may have been good for the developers it allowed on its platform in the past. In this age, of the steam greenlight, its not going to do anything for you as a developer. Except cost you money which you have to suck up because your fans "Have all their other games on steam, etc", basically the things being said about FP right now on that reddit.

Edited by Edmon
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On 3/16/2019 at 10:59 AM, Decius said:

... the one-year exclusive period, as I understand it, starts from the first sales of Early Access, so it will probably have expired well before the initial release of Phoenix Point.

As a backer of both Xeno2 and Phoenix Point myself, this is one of the two things I'm curious about ... is Early Access considered what they've already sold to the backers as 'backer build One, Two, Three'?  And Four, if it ever gets out .... /grumble :p   If so, then, yeah, that one year of exclusivity will likely be gone before a huge fuss need be attached to it.

The other thing I'm curious about is, say it IS going to be a few months or what have you after release before I see it on Steam where I wanted it - can I still redeem the backer key on Epic, play there for awhile, get any free DLC coming down the pipe, and then 'port it all to the Steam Store' once the exclusivity drops?  More importantly to me, though - do I have to fill out any personal info to launch it on Epic initially if I already paid for it?  Certainly, I won't have to provide any credit card info, will I?  What I've been hearing (true or false) is that Epic's had issues keeping their customers' private info 'private'.  I'd rather not have to worry about that, hence, my apprehension in using Epic.

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23 minutes ago, Edmon said:

Your entire post is conjecture.

No doubt.

And when I use my amateur choice of traffic checking tool, www.Alexa.com/siteinfo, to compare steam with epic, I found out that steampowered.com has a global rank of 163, and meanwhile the epicgames.com has only 1,298,680. The traffic ranking alexa provides won't be very precise, but my conjecture here is, alexa ain't joking around neither. humblebundle.com is not surprisingly having a score of 553, gog.com is at 1801 which is still pretty nice, ubi.com is better which has a globel rank of 1199. 

There are other traffic spying tool around but I didn't check them out because I'm lazy. You can give other tools a shot if you thing those ranking scores are ridiculous.

Although I do believe epic store will grow as they start to have more games on it but not in near future, not when the player community still remembers what they did with Deep Silver.

 

Steam is the realm of fairy tale for any developer who create decent game, unless Steam start to charge for the marketing service. And Steam is not like Youtube, the subscribers from Youtube pay nothing but their time.

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On 3/16/2019 at 8:49 AM, Pave said:

It is true that Steam certainly should have a much "organic"-administration and otherwise have less exploitative systems.
But just simply closing out a potential shopping-shelf is still not a smart choice, especially if there is simply no genuine financial gain from it
( well, at least in case of digital-products which don't cost any extra to produce per copy that is;
but even then more places you would be able to showcase your product at the better the sales turns out to be most of cases anyways, saying this as a person who used to work in a (independent) video-game-store )

On 3/18/2019 at 10:23 AM, Edmon said:

This line of thinking is not correct, there is everything to gain from locking out a store if they take a massive cut of your product's cost.
 

 

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I shall elaborate a bit further:
I for one think one wanting "all of the money" (and something about cakes) still is unsustainable business practice, which to some extend seems to be one of the (unfortunate) ulterior motives here.

Granted, my way of thinking might be extremely old-fashioned since I still firmly believe that more vendors one is able to push their products into, the better the sales in general are.

But then again the discussed situation in which "no sale" seemingly still creates a net-positive-income is peculiar new "fad" I cannot wrap my thoughts around...

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58 minutes ago, Pave said:

 

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I shall elaborate a bit further:
I for one think one wanting "all of the money" (and something about cakes) still is unsustainable business practice, which to some extend seems to be one of the (unfortunate) ulterior motives here.

Granted, my way of thinking might be extremely old-fashioned since I still firmly believe that more vendors one is able to push their products into, the better the sales in general are.

But then again the discussed situation in which "no sale" seemingly still creates a net-positive-income is peculiar new "fad" I cannot wrap my thoughts around...

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Nintendo keep their best games at full price pretty much forever and also pretty much accept only sales outlets that will only charge them about 10% - 15% per copy. So the strategy of going for only "quality" sales definitely works. It is not about preventing sales or not having sales, it's about preventing a market flood of your product at a discount price point, or under terms under which you do not make a good enough profit to make sequels, hire more staff, etc. There are limited people who will buy your game, based on it's type and their interests. You can't get infinite sales just because you cut the price. Hell, look at all the free games out there, does the whole planet own them because they are free? Of course not.

There is nothing "Fad" about it, it is common strategy for some of the biggest game companies in the world.

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On 3/14/2019 at 5:03 AM, Dagar said:

All that hate against Epic seems pretty petty to me. I'd prefer Epic Store over Steam actually, as all those "features" Steam supposedly has don't concern me anyway (maybe generation facebook needs to share to the world how many hours they put into a grindy shooter or how they tossed the most epic item of the game into lava for an achievement, I don't), and Epic actually gives more of the money to the developers, which is what counts in my book. I still prefer gog for lack of DRM, but I definitely won't get worked up about whether I need to download another piece of free software to play a game, I've done that many times since buying games over the internet became a thing.

By the way, Chris never said he would not take a deal akin to the one Snap Shot took, he just stated that he does not deem it very likely that Goldhawk get such an offer in the first place.

Oh, and yeah, Snap Shot behaved pretty shitty concerning promising Steam and gog keys and now making the game exclusive to Epic, but to me that does not justify the kind of shit storm they receive. But you be the loud minority all you want, after all it is free exposure for Snap Shot who you intend to hurt with that campaign. I'd love to see that kind of money and exposure for Xeno2, actually.

I agree to some extent. I don't mind using multiple launchers. Steam really does need some proper competition as they've gotten really lazy over the years, it's why I've started buying some games on GOG, but for me personally, the Epic Game Store just isn't that.

 

I'm completely opposed to Epic Games using money to force games onto their platform as a way to attract customers, the lack of features that Steam has over it, always online DRM, the fact developers can opt out of reviews, and their lack of security. Though it's nice that developers can get a bigger slice of the pie it comes at the determent to the consumers. I wouldn't be opposed to games being Epic Game Store exclusives if they were never advertised to ever be on Steam in the first place. But the fact that games like Phoenix Point, Outer Worlds, and Metro Exodus were all supposed to be on steam but abruptly dropped the platform for some extra money is just wrong. It sucks cause the Epic Games Store could have been a really good source for competition to steam, but now it's just another crummy game store like Origin or Uplay.

 

It also doesn't help that when I went to make an Epic Games account when considering to buy Metro Exodus there was already an account linked to my email someone from Thailand had created. I know it's not that big of a deal but the fact some rando was able to use my email to create an account without any sort of confirmation sent to my email was really off-putting.

 

I simply don't want to be forced to use a platform that's just in every way inferior to Steam or GOG. I'd like to hope that Epic Games will at some point try to do better than these shady buyouts but so far it's not looking like that's what'll happen...

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8 hours ago, br54 said:

I agree to some extent. I don't mind using multiple launchers. Steam really does need some proper competition as they've gotten really lazy over the years, it's why I've started buying some games on GOG, but for me personally, the Epic Game Store just isn't that.

 

I'm completely opposed to Epic Games using money to force games onto their platform as a way to attract customers, the lack of features that Steam has over it, always online DRM, the fact developers can opt out of reviews, and their lack of security. Though it's nice that developers can get a bigger slice of the pie it comes at the determent to the consumers. I wouldn't be opposed to games being Epic Game Store exclusives if they were never advertised to ever be on Steam in the first place. But the fact that games like Phoenix Point, Outer Worlds, and Metro Exodus were all supposed to be on steam but abruptly dropped the platform for some extra money is just wrong. It sucks cause the Epic Games Store could have been a really good source for competition to steam, but now it's just another crummy game store like Origin or Uplay.

 

It also doesn't help that when I went to make an Epic Games account when considering to buy Metro Exodus there was already an account linked to my email someone from Thailand had created. I know it's not that big of a deal but the fact some rando was able to use my email to create an account without any sort of confirmation sent to my email was really off-putting.

 

I simply don't want to be forced to use a platform that's just in every way inferior to Steam or GOG. I'd like to hope that Epic Games will at some point try to do better than these shady buyouts but so far it's not looking like that's what'll happen...

Nail on the head there, well said!

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I for one remember the old days when Steam first was launched and we needed internet to install Half Life 2; people were pissed, steam was considered crap...

and i've seen the same thing for every platform that has tried to compete with them, when there is essentially zero reason to do so (let's be honest, there really isn't one). and for those stating that their reason is that the security is lacking: the number of times Steam was the target of massive hacking throughout the years is crazy. 

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