Epic CEO Tim Sweeney is keeping the Epic Games Store open for exclusives, if that's what publishers and developers want. This is just weeks after Epic Games Store head Steve Allison told a crowd at GDC that Epic was not interested in repeating similar situations like what happened with Metro Exodus.
As a refresher, 4A Games' Metro Exodus was available for pre-order on Steam for months before suddenly announcing it was going to be an exclusive on the Epic Games Store. The pre-order page on Steam for Exodus was pulled down, but the publisher assured customers that it would honor any pre-orders made before the switch.
Fast forward to GDC when Allison told a crowd at a talk that Epic didn't want to do a repeat of that exact scenario ever again. "I think it felt way worse and was bigger than we thought, and in real-time, we spent time talking... 'we will never do this again in this way.'" Allison clarified that the problem wasn't necessarily that Metro Exodus became an exclusive, but rather the timing between the announcement and release were too short.
We've had a lot of discussions about this since GDC. Epic is open to continuing to sign funding / exclusivity deals with willing developers and publishers regardless of their previous plans or announcements around Steam.— Tim Sweeney (@TimSweeneyEpic) April 1, 2019
Since then it seems like Epic has been holding discussions on what Allison said. In a Tweet earlier this week Sweeney wrote, "Epic is open to continuing to sign funding/exclusivity deals with willing developers and publishers regardless of their previous plans or announcements around Steam."
When asked to clarify, Sweeney tweeted, "At GDC, Steve Allison said 'We don't ever want to do that ever again,'" when asked about the Metro Exodus controversy. This prompted further discussions at Epic, leading to the realization that these calls must be up to developers and publishers, and Epic wouldn't tell them "no" on account of existing statements made about Steam."
Epic's strategy for the Epic Games Store relies heavily on its more generous revenue share model which gives developers 88 percent of the sales cut, compared to Steam which offers 70 percent. Essentially, Epic is saying that it is open for business to any developer or publisher looking to become an Epic exclusive.
Allison also mentioned that Epic will not always be doing exclusives at the scale in which it is doing them right now. But that doesn't seem to be the plan anytime soon, as Epic will still be the exclusive PC store for games like Borderlands 3 and Anno 1800.