When Epic Games announced that they were going to launch their own distribution store, it had everyone worried. It all started when the company decided to make Fortnite, arguably the world’s most popular game right now, available exclusively on its platform. So much so that even mobile versions of the game could only be accessed from the Epic Games launcher. And now, it seems like they’ve hit the final nail in the coffin for Steam, the largest games distribution platform on PC.
Just recently, Ubisoft announced that their upcoming game, The Division 2, will not be available on Steam. It will instead be made to purchase on Epic Games Store. This, as expected, has led to a large backlash from fans all around. After all, no one really likes Uplay, so the only (superior) alternative to that is to buy Ubisoft’s games on Steam. While it will still lead to the game being launched through Uplay, at least it gives people some relief from knowing that their games are located under one unified library.
Now, one of the major reasons why this might have happened is because of the revenue that these stores are liable to offer to the 3rd party developers/publishers. While Valve offers roughly 70% of profits to the developers, Epic Games promises to offer 88%. That’s a staggering amount, one that most companies would look towards. The store also forgoes the standard 5% revenue fee which is applied on games using the Unreal Engine (which Epic owns).
So, it would only seem natural on Ubisoft’s part to release their game on this new platform, alongside its own Uplay. So, why now? Why didn’t they release their last big entry, Assassin’s Creed Odyssey on Epic’s platform? Well, the answer is simple. The Epic Games Store was simply not ready for as big a launch as that. With that, I’m talking about the core property that players engage with when it comes to these platforms: the launcher. Epic had not announced their plans for the marketplace, with it coming right after the release of Odyssey.
Epic has been pushing their new store quite hard. They recently announced plans to give away a free game every 2 weeks, and so far it’s working. In fact, you can get your hands on a copy of What Remains of Edith Finch right now for free. They also implemented regional pricing as well as a refund policy which works exactly like Steam.
There’s also a slew of games that are going to be exclusively available on Epic’s store, such as the critically acclaimed PS3-exclusive Journey. Will it help break the mould of console-exclusive games? Probably not, but it does seem to have taken a step in that direction.
So, does this mean the end of Steam? As of right now, not really. Steam’s community features are just better than Epics’. Which is also the reason why no one wants to switch to another library. Even CD Projekt RED, who are actively pro-consumer & have their own marketplace GOG, doesn’t rack in the large numbers that Steam does. And it offers games DRM-free! This clearly proves that with the right community and constant updates, Steam has and will continue to dominate the market. At least for the time being.