My first experience with the Epic store was to get Satisfactory. And while it was annoying not being able to have it on steam, it really became a non-issue since everyone I play with uses Discord. Again, I am curious to hear other opinions on this because I really do not see the big deal in my experience.
That's the thing though, console exclusives at least saved developers the resources needed to port to another console. Especially in ye olden days, that was a non-trivial cost. The storefront exclusivity on PCs is completely artificial.
But also, yeah, my computer is full of enough bloated useless-ware. At least GoG and Itch don't make me use a client.
I was against Epic's aggressive moves, until I realized just how much cash they're injecting into developers. In the video game industry developers are the ones that bring the most value to customers.
Valve has been a dragon hoarding its gold. The services they provide are better than Epic, but they really don't reflect their near-monopoly position for over a decade. 30% out of the majority of PC game sales, and what do we have to show for it? Valve doesn't even seem willing to compete and lower its cut.
In the end going with Epic will guarantee the studio can make it to the next game. That's worth downloading another client. That and the free games.
Steam links, Steam controllers, Steam on Linux, Proton, and the OpenVR SDK to name a few. Sure several of those things were failures, but it isn't like they aren't trying.
> In the video game industry developers are the ones that bring the most value to customers.
That's some trickle-down theory right there. I'm not convinced that what's good for developers is necessarily good for gamers or the gaming market. Case in point: loot boxes.
Studio closures are common, game services shut down, mass layoffs, and project cancellations. An exclusivity deal is much better than a publisher going in and changing monetization or game design to fit their strategy.
Where do you get off telling me how I should feel? The way I feel is that exclusivity that has nothing to do with technical constraints and everything to do with corporate sumo wrestling is not and never will be good for gaming as a whole.
Exclusivity can be good if it results in more games being developed, at a better quality, cheaper. Do you disagree with that?
Gamedev isn't cheap, especially for indies and smaller studios.
I'm happy about their revenue share and was excited when they got started - until it became obvious that their tactics didn't align with their PR.
Epic's play is to try and see if being a better looking deal for game devs will translate to being better for gamers or other groups (like linux users, open source advocates) too. We'll see. Valve has already demonstrated their goodwill towards all the groups multiple times, even if it's motivated by keeping their platform dominance.
Yeah, it became the industry standard because it rakes in mind-blowingly huge revenue for the app store owner, e.g. https://www.cultofmac.com/601492/app-store-google-play-reven.... From the article: "It’s no wonder Services — which includes App Store revenue — has become an increasingly important business for Apple as hardware sales have slowed.".
While you're correct that it costs money to run Steam, it's not _that_ much money.
https://youtube.com/watch?v=stxVBJem3Rs Here's a talk from a very old indie company, there's one section talking about how they existed pre-Steam (and other stores they use since Steam's not exclusive) and appreciate what it's enabled.
Steam isn't so much better than the competition that no one can compete with them--they just got into the market at the right time and network effects have taken over.
I mentioned probable economies of scale in a cousin comment, but I don't think they offer all that much. Do you have a % in mind that you intuitively think could be knocked off from the stores of Valve, GOG, Google, Apple, Microsoft, Salesforce App Exchange, and Amazon Appstore, all taking around 30% before you get into the fine print?
Assume a $50 game. 100,000 sales. 5 gigs.
Storage and bandwidth = $28,000 (per Amazon's calculator)
Cost of doing business in N countries = use paypal = 2.9%+0.30/sale = approximately $1.75/sale = $175,000
Costs = $203,000
Revenue = $5,000,000
Ratio = 4.1%
So yeah, Valve is not the shining knight here and that 30% fee is unjustifiable. Even Epic's 12% share is still very much profitable for Epic.
The 30% fee is also nowhere comparable to wholesale pricing schema of the retail model (effectively a 40-60% fee), since that involved the sale of physical copies of goods, and the retailers had to deal with issues like shrinkage and the risk of unsold inventory.
This example is also using s3 retail pricing and paypal retail pricing, which already factors in profits for Amazon and Paypal.
None of the big marketplace's costs are anywhere near 30%.
I hate Epic for their Exclusivity, but lets not pretend that 30% Fee is nothing more than a money grab by Apple, Google, Valve and the rest of these platforms
The 30% figure is a bit deceiving. If you sell a lot on Steam, you can get a better cut from Valve, but you don't even need to sell a single copy to get a 100% cut - Valve charges nothing for Steam key generation. You could sell keys on your own website and only pay payment processing fees, or get a decent cut from Humble, GMG, etc and not have to manage a storefront. One-third of all Steam game registrations are key activations , so this isn't some insignificant revenue stream.
What HN gets annoyed with is exclusivity and lies. Valve never required exclusivity and did not try to become a monopoly (you could sell on GOG, Origin, and any other storefront alongside Steam if you wanted), they just sucked less than the competition (GFWL et al) and developed consumer loyalty through their sales.
Valve is far from perfect, but they're decent and aren't anti-consumer, so when Tim Sweeney starts handing out $2 million for exclusives  to undermine everyone else and lies through his teeth on Twitter, people get mad. Epic doesn't want fair competition or they'd focus on making a much better launcher and sell their platform on its merits rather than its exclusives. Tim doesn't care about introducing competition, because it already exists (GOG, Origin, UPlay, etc), and people are still happy to stick with Valve.
>That 30% is coming straight out of gamers' pockets
This implies gamers care about the cut like it's a tax, and that if Valve lowered their cut, games on Steam would be cheaper. I did a quick check and saw the new Watch Dogs: Legion can be preordered on EGS for $59.99. Logically speaking, if the 12% cut is priced at $60, buying from Ubisoft directly (where there's a 0% cut to EGS) should be even cheaper, but nope, it's the same price. The lower cut translates to more profits, and executives won't lower prices just because they're getting more money. The reason for this is that video games are intellectual property, not commodity goods where people can directly compare prices for equivalent products (that is, while I can pick and choose a generic paper towel brand over Bounty and get similar utility for less money, choosing Need for Speed over Forza will result in a very different experience, such that you can't really compare games on price).
Given that Tim wants to force everyone to use his crappy launcher with no intention of Linux support, I can see why HN would rally around Valve. Middlemen are necessary for distribution, server hosting, and dealing with scammers trying to chargeback thousands of transactions, so we might as well have a company that isn't actively hostile to consumers doing it. Valve could lower their cut, but it would do nothing unless they stooped to Tim's level and started paying for exclusives, and Gabe has made it clear he wants PC gaming to remain an open platform, making paid exclusives unlikely. Doing so would result in a race to the bottom, and Tim knows that although Epic has tons of VC money to fund such a race with, Valve's refusal to take VC funds over the years would result in them losing.
One can also look at the possibilities by modeling more than just the $60 game in isolation. Include the cost, it took $X to create, and each $60 sale chips away at $X by some $Y so that after enough sales over some time window breakeven is reached (and profit after that). A new tax means that $Y becomes smaller, so you need more sales than before to reach breakeven within the same time. Except you won't get more sales than before, because the price is the same. You have to eat the tax. You could try raising the price to say $70 or whatever is needed so that $Y remains the same, and now you only need the same number of sales as before, let the customers eat it. Except you won't get the same number of sales as before, because the increase in the product's price will result in a decrease in customer demand, you'll have fewer sales than before within the same time frame. Compared to the difference with $X, it's still the company who has eaten the tax and has to deal with its consequences on their continued existence.
This is a pretty wild accusation to make with no lead-up or follow-through.
iTunes, Apple App Store, Google Play Store, even Amazon Kindle book store, all are missing carts. Because a one-click buy is way easier to navigate than adding to cart, going to cart, and then finally checking out.
They are generous with giving away steam keys, I agree with that. However the alternative for them is people selling exe on their websites instead of the steam key and losing potential customers over it. Also giving away free keys like that allows them to force devs keep the price same as steam prices
It's not a good approach to competition though, and only hurts users instead of motivating innovation. I agree that Steam could use some competition, but Epic isn't actually competing with them, they're just forcibly buying their way into the market.
People also ignore that Steam built itself up on exclusives too. Heck, Valve bought Turtle Rock Software a few months before Left 4 Dead's release to get an exclusive lock on the Left 4 Dead franchise in perpetuity, then froze the original developers out. But somehow gamers are more scandalized by Epic paying developers to release on Epic's platform a few months before Steam, despite that being less predatory in every possible way.
I think some things they do well are (which are admittedly important things):
* fast downloads
* consistent achievements between games
But I think they're lagging others (mainly discord) in chat and social. Their voice quality is comparatively horrible. They don't really have a good space for a group to have a server like discord does, which really helps with cohesion. So while I definitely don't think epic is killing it in any of these areas, I don't think steam has that much going for it outside their core competency.
Yes. Yes it is. Steam built the online games distribution market from basically nothing to where it is today. They helped usher in the indie game explosion, and gave players unprecedented tools for finding and assessing games. Not to mention the normalization of high-discount sales.
Oh yeah, and also Valve went ahead and made Linux gaming a more realistic proposition than it has ever been in history.
But that doesn't mean that steam today is the best experience for gaming, and I would probably go so far as to argue that their hold on gaming is harmful to the industry, the largest issue imo being their large take of sales.
Steam is where it is today because it first earned, and then kept, gamer trust. All the anti-Valve propaganda out there the past few years doesn't change that.
If you're buying the game to play with someone, you buy it on whatever platform the other person has it on.
Otherwise, you look at whatever platform you spend the most time on. If it's available there and the price is "reasonable" for you, then you buy it there. End of story. I don't believe that most people actively search out a new platform.
Otherwise, if it's not available or you think you can get it for lower cost elsewhere, then you go to the next store you think is likely to have it or have it cheaper.
Given that framework, it doesn't really matter how good a platform is for a consumer outside of being able to buy a certain game. The main factors for that platform are:
1. How many people are on it.
2. How wide the selection on the platform is.
So I would argue that not only does the platform compete for users on 1 (which I've argued is mostly based on 2 and pricing), but also for developers on 2. I think steam's behavior with their features is mostly oriented towards making the platform attractive to developers, and Epic is offering exclusives and $$$ to draw developers in.
As to whether Epic's exclusives are good for that gaming community, you can argue that they will allow for an ecosystem of epic subsidized developers, and lead to more competition from steam for holding developers.
Also, for a consumer there's a big convenience advantage to having a single store - from UX perspective (but probably not from the wider market leverage perspective, tragedy of commons yadda yadda) I'd very, very much prefer using a single service that's good enough to having to use three or more separate places that each individually are somehow better but each doesn't carry all the content that I want. The same applies to most other media - movies/shows, music, books.
IMHO the only way to get competitiveness would be to ensure that exclusivity deals are impossible/illegal, so that you might have multiple services each providing all content but competing on other qualities.