Ooblets is an adorable, cozy mix of Animal Crossing and Pokemon that is now coming exclusively to the Epic Games Store on PC. It's one of several games to make the move over the last few months, but Glumberland, the indie team behind Ooblets, decided to get out in front of the questions and answer a few.
In a blog post on the Ooblets site, the dev team announces its move to Epic exclusivity on PC. While it could still arrive on other PC stores (though it'll be a "pretty long while"), for now it'll just be on Epic Games Store and Xbox. As the devs put it, the deal involved some "cash money upfront" so the team can develop Ooblets with fewer compromises. Here's their reasoning why they took the deal:
"Because Epic doesn't yet have the same market share as their competitors, they offered us a minimum guarantee on sales that would match what we'd be wanting to earn if we were just selling Ooblets across all the stores. That takes a huge burden of uncertainty off of us because now we know that no matter what, the game won't fail and we won't be forced to move back in with our parents (but we do love and appreciate you, parents!)."
The upfront money means they can afford more help, giving them more resources than they would've had beforehand. Epic's investment allows the Ooblets team to ramp up its development pipeline, though it may also delay launch. The delay would be for a good reason though, as it would be the Ooblets team taking more time and not feeling rushed out the door due to financial pressure.
But the Ooblets team also knows that Epic exclusivity has its backlash, and the team posted some responses to the common gripes. All of them are well-written, but I want to highlight the response to the complaint that exclusives are "anti-consumer:"
"I can understand the frustration of having to buy different consoles to play the games you want, but there's no extra cost to use EGS. The store and launcher just require a free signup. It's not like having to pay for HBO and Netflix and Hulu to watch all the shows you want, it's more like just having to press a button on your remote to change between free TV channels."
This move toward Epic seems frequently motivated by the added influx in cash it provides, not just upfront but over time. The devs of MechWarrior 5 made the move for both a better revenue split and for the added visibility compared to the flood of new games on Steam. Paradox chairman Fredrik Wester also spoke out against Steam's revenue split compared to Epic's, and there have been a few cases of indie games like Ooblets being saved by an exclusivity deal.
Yes, Epic gets an obvious benefit in an exclusive. This is a business deal that should be mutually beneficial for the parties involved. But in the case of Ooblets, it looks like it's nothing but good news for a team that can now work on perfecting its project without financial woe. We can hope it pans out for the ultimate good of Ooblets, but for right now, it seems to be offering a much-needed foundation for the developers to make what they want to make.