Why the Epic Games Launcher is the wrong kind of Competition for Steam.
I’ll admit my bias here. I am a long-time Steam user and love it for how it handles DRM, and it enables me to keep my games in one spot. As such, I’ll likely be biased towards Steam. However, I will try to keep this as objective as possible. Recently, Epic Games Launcher was released with Fortnite and a few indie titles. They intend to be competition for Valve’s Steam client. On the surface, this is great competition that benefits the consumer. Unfortunately, I can hardly call the Epic Games Launcher competition at all for Steam.
The reason is simple enough, the Epic Games Launcher is missing key features that we all take for granted on the Steam store. Customer reviews, custom profiles, mod support, cloud save support, family sharing of your games, invite friends to games you are playing or join your friends, and many other features.
The Epic Games Launcher also installs Fortnite automatically, whether you want it or not.
The only thing that could actually give them the edge is the cut they take for using their storefront: 12% with the rest going to the developer. Where as on Steam it’s higher (30%).
However, this doesn’t change the fact that this is yet another launcher and is unlikely to draw people from Steam, even if they do have cheaper prices. We already have too many: Origin, Good Old Games, Uplay, Bethesda Launcher, Steam. Even Twitch has a game launcher.
Epic’s Exceptionally Evil Endeavours
In the future, Epic will bring user reviews to the platform. However, the reviews will be dev side opt-in. Meaning that more often than not, devs and publishers will not opt-in just to keep people from reviewing their games. This means consumers are left blind to what they are about to purchase.
According to Epic, this is to stop review bombing (the act of leaving negative reviews to show consumer displeasure at things developers and publishers do, even if the game is decent).
If that is not alarmingly anti-consumer enough they bought a timed exclusive. Metro Exodus, the highly anticipated next chapter in the Metro series by 4A games. In a deal with Deep Silver and Koch media. While this practice is cancerous on its own because it kills real competition, in this case, it’s much worse. Steam users could and did already pre-order the game on Steam. But just before the game’s release, they pulled it from the Steam store for the Epic Games Launcher.
And it won’t be on the Steam store till next year. While the current Steam pre-orders will be honoured by the company and they will be able to play on the day of release on the Epic Games Launcher, no further pre-orders can be made on Steam. It doesn’t change the fact that they spat in the face of consumers and leaves a bitter taste in my mouth. Add to that, the Division 2 is also no longer on Steam and only on Uplay and Epic Games store. It’s clear that publishers and devs seem to hold users in contempt.
The devs and the author of the series responded to backlash, informing the public that this was all Koch/Deep Silver’s plan and had nothing to do with 4A and the author. Despite being a fan of the series I won’t be purchasing it on the Epic Games store. I won’t be rewarding this behaviour. When it does come out on Steam I will eventually buy it.
Epic could have been better, it could have been actual competition, this can no longer be the case if this is what they do to the consumer.