Tim Sweeney Responds to Epic Games Store Criticism

AlphaAtlas

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While some outlets have praised the Epic's new storefront for their more generous developer revenue cut, others have been criticizing the new Steam competitor. One particularly nasty thread popped up on the /r/pcgaming subreddit yesterday, claiming that the Epic Store is "literally spyware" with a draconian TOS and a Chinese parent company that cares nothing for the privacy of its users. Hate is plentiful on the internet, but this particular post managed to shoot into /r/all with over 27,000 upvotes, prompting Epic Game's CEO to post a response with some interesting info. Among other things, Tim elaborated on the deals behind Epic Store exclusives, saying "they're a result of some combination of marketing commitments, development funding, or revenue guarantees." This implies that Epic is working with their storefront listings more closely than Valve, who tend to take a hands-off approach. Tim also reaffirmed that Tencent is only a minority investor in Epic, and that they "do not have any sort of access to our customer data."

All developers recognize this because their business are being crushed under the weight of these increasing store taxes. This is why devs have been super enthusiastic about the Epic store. For users, I get that it's yet another launcher and if you have Steam installed you'd prefer to just use it. But if you want way better games to be built in the future, then please recognize what good this store can do. Steam takes 30% and Epic takes 12%. That's an 18% difference, and most devs make WAY less than an 18% profit margin - so this can be the difference between being able to fund a new game and going bankrupt!
 

piscian18

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I think the real problem EPIC is facing that the ONLY reason people use one platform over another right now is exclusive titles. EA, Blizzard, Ubisoft, Steam and Rockstar have games with a enough of a userbase and regularly publish enough high selling titles that they can strong arm gamers into using their shitty clients(Im fairly confident Bethseda is Steam exclusive?).

If gamers actually had any say in the matter we wouldn't be using any client with a fucking store at all, we'd all be using some modern xfire or discord or some shit for our community platform. Im pretty sure most gamers would happily go back to self installs and manual updates if it gave us our launch freedom back.

EPIC has fuck all to offer as far as big name exclusives so of course everyone is telling them to eat a dick. Because, for the moment, they can.
 

AlphaAtlas

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Im fairly confident Bethseda is Steam exclusive?

FO76 is Bethesda Launcher only, though it's unclear if their future SP RPGs will move away from Steam. I somehow doubt the other devs under Bethesda's publishing arm will abandon Steam though.

EPIC has fuck all to offer as far as big name exclusives

Except for Fortnite... and that title is a whopper.
 

Nobu

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Tencent owns 40% of Epic. That makes them majority stakeholder among outside investors. You look at any profile of Epic Games, Inc. and it will list Tencent as the owner of the company.
Minority, but yeah.
 

AlphaAtlas

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I saw that after I posted. Thats a big stick they're trying to swing. Sounds like if Fortnite dies their store dies with it.

Definitely.

Even though I'm no Fortnite player, I think Epic have managed the game's popularity and development really well so far. But they know Fortnite won't last forever, so the store is their way of capitalizing on the popularity long-term. Heck, even if the Epic Store fails miserably, I bet it'll still drive down Steam fees, which is good for Epic's business in the future.
 

Kardonxt

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I saw that after I posted. Thats a big stick they're trying to swing. Sounds like if Fortnite dies their store dies with it.

At this point even if Fortnite does die the client's already installed on millions of devices. I know as [H] users we tend to remove stuff we don't use, but I have worked on enough "gamer" owned pc's to know kids don't remove anything, ever, lol.

This was the perfect time for Epic to push.
 

DPI

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At this point even if Fortnite does die the client's already installed on millions of devices. I know as [H] users we tend to remove stuff we don't use, but I have worked on enough "gamer" owned pc's to know kids don't remove anything, ever, lol.

This was the perfect time for Epic to push.
Problem for Epic is that kids and F2P cheapskates that installed a FortNite launcher that happens to be called epic game store, are not a game buying demographic. Retail priced, buy upfront games on there may as well not exist, because the mentality of the new generation that have only ever known phone app games, is that games don't cost anything upfront and microtransactions suck them in later.

Example, its hard to imagine the Ashen developer is happy with their total sales right now after the Faustian deal they struck with Epic and their bribe check to keep their $40 game off Steam.
 
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DPI

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Definitely.

Even though I'm no Fortnite player, I think Epic have managed the game's popularity and development really well so far. But they know Fortnite won't last forever, so the store is their way of capitalizing on the popularity long-term. Heck, even if the Epic Store fails miserably, I bet it'll still drive down Steam fees, which is good for Epic's business in the future.
I can't see Epics's glorified FortNite launcher ever putting pressure on Steam's 30% fee.

Let's remember the fee is a byproduct of the size of the marketplace. And at this point it's like saying a lemonade stand will put pressure on Amazon. A) FortNite droolers don't buy games, B) there are no games on the Epic launcher worth buying, C) for every 1 potential buyer of a game on Epic store there are 10,000 on Steam, so this focus on the 18% fee delta between Epic/Steam as though its the only meaningful metric is very shortsighted. It's a con that Sweeney & crew are running (and I like the guy).

I haven't seen or heard Epic promise they'll never increase their 12% cut once they gain some traction "Sorry we're having to adjust fee for increased costs blah blah". Hard to imagine their ruthless Chinese overlords will allow them to not raise the fees later and leave money on the table.
 
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Criticalhitkoala

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I wouldn't be surprised if Epic waves their Unreal Engine Fee for any exclusives. It's already pretty reasonable (along with Unity). You really don't pay anything if you develop a game unless a certain amount of volume is purchased. I wonder if Epic will just tell indy companies that launch Epic Store exclusives that Unreal Engine is free for them to use.
 

Inacurate

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I think once Epic adds what's expected of a true Steam competitor, their take is going to increase.
Until they, they're a glorified data delivery service championing exclusive games and little more.

It costs money to maintain the entire Steam infrastructure, and money they don't spend on say forums...is money the developer has to spend on forums.
Or if devs/Epic want to cheap out, they can direct users to Discord and other social channels for support, but we all know that's not the most ideal solution.

It could work, but it's most likely on the back of "free services" such as Discord and Twitter, which may struggle to provide the best customer service possible.
Developers will find themselves spending money they wouldn't have otherwise if they went with Steam.
If that's acceptable and allows them to turn a bigger profit, good for them.

Valve would do well to drastically improve the areas Epic's Store doesn't currently touch upon, and that would give developers pause to leave Steam.
 

LMT MFA

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Here's my Tencent, my FortNite is free..

I agree with Nebell, with the addition; this is an elaborate scheme by Epic to drain Valve of cash, so that they have no other option than to make HL3. Not all heroes wear capes.



:p
 

Patton187

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FO76 is Bethesda Launcher only, though it's unclear if their future SP RPGs will move away from Steam. I somehow doubt the other devs under Bethesda's publishing arm will abandon Steam though.



Except for Fortnite... and that title is a whopper.
They've got Hades. Supergaints new one. I want it.
 

M76

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The very reason I didn't even check it out was the privacy concerns. They're not even GDPR compatible as I've read. Heck I don't even know if access isn't blocked from the EU.
 

DPI

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If that's acceptable and allows them to turn a bigger profit, good for them.

Valve would do well to drastically improve the areas Epic's Store doesn't currently touch upon, and that would give developers pause to leave Steam.
The idea of turning a "bigger profit" simply because of an 18% difference between Epic and Steam's store fees is a mushroom hallucination that requires ignoring the basic math found in 2nd graders as long as there's a 10,000% userbase (market size) difference in Steam's favor. These stores are never going to be on equal footing in marketshare, but Epic is trying to focus the narrative on store fee as if all other factors are equal.

Selling exclusively on Epic's store and ignoring Steam = stepping over a ten dollar bill to pick up a penny, because for the 1000x more copies a game could have sold on Steam, instead of getting 70%, the developer gets 0%.

Hell, if Epic's store fee was 0% and they hypothetically had 70% of Steam's userbase, it would still be financial suicide to ignore Steam and sell exclusively on Epic.
 
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AlphaAtlas

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They've got Hades. Supergaints new one. I want it.
Yeah, Supergiant's games are always gorgeous. I think Satisfactory could get a sizable following too (including me), seeing how much people liked Factorio.
 

dgz

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I got rid of their client about half an year ago after they had decided to silently update their launcher AND put an auto launch entry. Even started a thread here on [H] but was told I am a moron for complaining.

I only had this crap because of the new UT back in 2015 or so.
 

Flogger23m

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The idea of turning a "bigger profit" simply because of an 18% difference between Epic and Steam's store fees is a mushroom hallucination that requires ignoring the basic math found in 2nd graders as long as there's a 10,000% userbase (market size) difference in Steam's favor. These stores are never going to be on equal footing in marketshare, but Epic is trying to focus the narrative on store fee as if all other factors are equal.

Selling exclusively on Epic's store and ignoring Steam = stepping over a ten dollar bill to pick up a penny, because for the 1000x more copies a game could have sold on Steam, instead of getting 70%, the developer gets 0%.

Hell, if Epic's store fee was 0% and they hypothetically had 70% of Steam's userbase, it would still be financial suicide to ignore Steam and sell exclusively on Epic.

Sell game for $50 on Epic's store, sell it for $60 on Steam. You'll still make more money from Epic's platform. Some people will buy it for less, most will buy it for Steam. It will be gradual and nothing big will happen overnight. Longer term it will erode Steam's dominance. Steam itself has become a joke with fewer good games coming out. It isn't the behemoth it used to be. We already need a lot of installers if we want to play many of the latest AAA games. Valve's fee reduction to 20% for AAA developers shows they're very worried. If they weren't they would've kept it higher. But they know many big developers/publishers are jumping ship.

Consider Epic also handles the most popular indie game engine and will wave the fees for it if sold on their store I can see many developers selling on both platforms with a higher Steam cost. And that will eat out of the demographic Steam has the strongest foothold in - indie titles.
 

Ranulfo

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I got rid of their client about half an year ago after they had decided to silently update their launcher AND put an auto launch entry. Even started a thread here on [H] but was told I am a moron for complaining.

I only had this crap because of the new UT back in 2015 or so.

Damn, just went and double checked this. They turned it on at install with no prompt. At least clicking it off in the settings actually turns it off when verifying thru msconfig.
 

illli

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I like what gog is doing by allowing some steam purchases to be linked to your gog account. So if you have already bought a game on steam, but rather have it on gog, you don't have to re-buy the game. so far it only works on a limited number of games, but still a nice gesture
 

BloodyIron

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I like the part where they advertise UE4 as native Linux since 2015 and earlier, have the tools native in Linux, but not the client. What the actual fuck is that shit?
 

GoldenTiger

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I wouldn't be surprised if Epic waves their Unreal Engine Fee for any exclusives. It's already pretty reasonable (along with Unity). You really don't pay anything if you develop a game unless a certain amount of volume is purchased. I wonder if Epic will just tell indy companies that launch Epic Store exclusives that Unreal Engine is free for them to use.
They already did that :).
 

Aireoth

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The idea of turning a "bigger profit" simply because of an 18% difference between Epic and Steam's store fees is a mushroom hallucination that requires ignoring the basic math found in 2nd graders as long as there's a 10,000% userbase (market size) difference in Steam's favor. These stores are never going to be on equal footing in marketshare, but Epic is trying to focus the narrative on store fee as if all other factors are equal.

Selling exclusively on Epic's store and ignoring Steam = stepping over a ten dollar bill to pick up a penny, because for the 1000x more copies a game could have sold on Steam, instead of getting 70%, the developer gets 0%.

Hell, if Epic's store fee was 0% and they hypothetically had 70% of Steam's userbase, it would still be financial suicide to ignore Steam and sell exclusively on Epic.

You are ignoring that Steam is on a decline ATM. There is an ever growing segment of their user base upset with their lack of customer support, lack of curation, no quality controls, and increasingly invasive platform.

It's an uphill battle for Epic, but now is about the right timing.
 

Mazzspeed

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You are ignoring that Steam is on a decline ATM. There is an ever growing segment of their user base upset with their lack of customer support, lack of curation, no quality controls, and increasingly invasive platform.

It's an uphill battle for Epic, but now is about the right timing.

What makes you think Steam is on a decline? We haven't see any concrete user base figures for years.
 

Ragenrok

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I wouldn't be surprised if Epic waves their Unreal Engine Fee for any exclusives. It's already pretty reasonable (along with Unity). You really don't pay anything if you develop a game unless a certain amount of volume is purchased. I wonder if Epic will just tell indy companies that launch Epic Store exclusives that Unreal Engine is free for them to use.
Pretty sure they already did, think they announced that any games sold through their storefront will have the royalty fees waved making it an even better deal for Indies.
 

capt_cope

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You are ignoring that Steam is on a decline ATM. There is an ever growing segment of their user base upset with their lack of customer support, lack of curation, no quality controls, and increasingly invasive platform.

It's an uphill battle for Epic, but now is about the right timing.
Got any kind of facts that back that up? I'm seeing a brief peak and stabilization higher than last year, not so much a "decline" looking at the charts: here.
 

Aireoth

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What makes you think Steam is on a decline? We haven't see any concrete user base figures for years.

Open your eyes, the dissatisfaction is easy to see and has been growing for years. The top sellers and recommended lists are garbage.
 

Flogger23m

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Got any kind of facts that back that up? I'm seeing a brief peak and stabilization higher than last year, not so much a "decline" looking at the charts: here.

More & more big games are leaving the platform. And that is where most sales and profits are generated. Valve has already offered to lower fees to 20% for big publishers.
 

Aireoth

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Got any kind of facts that back that up? I'm seeing a brief peak and stabilization higher than last year, not so much a "decline" looking at the charts: here.

As a long time steam user and og steam lover, suck it.

This is the time to launch a competitor, Gabe is using your money to sit his fat ass on hookers while snorting coke while you pine away for Half Life 3. Send them the message or forever be a bitch.
 

capt_cope

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capt_cope said:
Got any kind of facts that back that up? I'm seeing a brief peak and stabilization higher than last year, not so much a "decline" looking at the charts: here.
As a long time steam user and og steam lover, suck it.
This is the time to launch a competitor, Gabe is using your money to sit his fat ass on hookers while snorting coke while you pine away for Half Life 3. Send them the message or forever be a bitch.
So I'll take that as a "No" then?
 

MavericK

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Fortnite will die eventually, as with all things. They aren't really making a compelling argument for me to buy into their platform.
 
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