When Epic Games announced a new digital game store, one strategy to get players interested in the new venture was through exclusives. But as the controversy surrounding Metro Exodus' sudden departure from Steam to the Epic Games Store shows, not everyone is happy to see games they're excited for suddenly go exclusive. Now Epic says it doesn't intend to do exclusives forever.
During a panel for the Epic Store at the Game Developers Conference in San Francisco today, Epic Store head Steve Allison says the company doesn't want to do what it did with Metro Exodus "ever again." Allison says Epic and the Metro Exodus team were talking "for months" and the decision was made together.
"We both knew there was the potential for the thing that happened in terms of communication. I think it felt way worse and was bigger than we though, and in real-time." Allison then said in the resulting discussions internally that Epic agreed to "never do this again in this way."
One of the main ways Epic has been getting eyeballs onto its new storefront is through exclusives. So far, Epic has netted games like The Division 2, Metro Exodus, and upcoming releases like The Outer Worlds and Control. But Epic says its main strategy is the 88/12 revenue split, not exclusives. "We could go to zero, or we could go to very very few major exclusives within a given year," says Allison. "We will definitely not be doing them on the scale we're doing now."
The exclusives sparked a vocal backlash against Epic's platform from loyal Steam users who say that Epic lacks key features like reviews. Epic laid out a roadmap which includes user reviews coming to the Epic Games Store that developers can opt into. Furthermore, even with the backlash Epic says that sales haven't been impacted on games like Metro Exodus anyways.
As of now, it seems that disgruntled fans will not be stopping their criticisms of Epic's exclusives anytime soon. But publishers and developers seem certainly content to work with Epic despite the protestations. Whether they will lessen as Epic's store becomes a firmer fixture in the digital video game retail space remains to be seen.
Thanks, PC Gamer