Leaderboard: Where do you stand on the Epic Games Store (and proposed boycott)?

    
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It’s a day that ends in Y, so of course there’s trouble on Reddit. The PC gaming sub today has a massive thread with 15,000 upvotes and climbing asking fellow PC gamers to boycott the Epic Games Store.

The thread was plainly sparked by yesterday’s announcement that post-apoc shooter Metro Exodus (no, not something we’d normally cover) was going to be the latest game to abandon Steam and sign on for a better publishing deal on Epic Games’ fledgling store. While multiple games have done this, Valve was particularly prickly about this one, as the game had been previously availble for preorder on Steam, necessitating a switcharoo just two weeks before launch.

Normally, this is something we’d just roll our eyes over – whatever, let the bajillionaires sort it out, we’re not stanning for them, right? – but the massive Reddit thread proposing a boycott is specifically calling Epic “anti-consumer,” chiefly because of its current lack of features and presumed lack of customer support.

What do you think about the Epic Games Store and the current fuss?

Leaderboard: Where do you stand on the Epic Games Store (and proposed boycott)?

  • Let the market sort it out. Competition is good. (22%, 291 Votes)
  • I'm all about a boycott. I don't like the way Epic is going about this. (11%, 138 Votes)
  • I don't like any of these online distribution services. (3%, 35 Votes)
  • I didn't use all those extra features on Steam anyway. (3%, 40 Votes)
  • I seriously don't care as long as I can buy my games. (5%, 63 Votes)
  • I've already got the Epic Games Store installed. It's fine. (4%, 57 Votes)
  • Wait, why are we not boycotting Steam too? (9%, 119 Votes)
  • Service exclusivity deals suck. (18%, 231 Votes)
  • I'll pay Epic more attention once its service is up to par. (5%, 62 Votes)
  • That's seriously not what anti-consumer means, Reddit. (8%, 110 Votes)
  • Epic doesn't have any games I want yet anyway. (3%, 45 Votes)
  • I was already boycotting Epic. (4%, 57 Votes)
  • Something else (tell us in the comments). (0%, 6 Votes)
  • No response / elf butts / just view tally. (4%, 47 Votes)

Total Voters: 875

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With thanks to Microwatt!

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3dom

So I’ve tried purchasing The Division 2 through Epic store (and through Uplay too). It turns out their payment provider does not support USD-based cards for my region (as if everyone have to use funny unstable local papers that this government demand to call “money”). I’ve tried GMG – their payment interface does not support cards without 3DSecure. I’ve tried buying Anthem from EA/Origins – got similar troubles with the card (but at least there I can switch to US store to use my USD-based card).

Steam became the most popular store for a reason: the lack of problems with it.

Ernost
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Ernost

They have no regional pricing like Steam does, so I cannot afford to spend any money there anyway.

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Paul B

I’m just sick of a new game store coming out every couple months. I’ve got like 6 or 7 of them on my laptop right now, it is ridiculous.
Soon every game will have its own delivery platform. Stupid.

Then they ALL say the platforms are not resource hogs, yet surprise, surprise they impact game performance enough that it is worthwhile to alt-tab out and close the storefront after your game client loads. Garbage!

It’s the new bloatware. The new pop up window. The new drop a boulder on your foot. Hate It!

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Victor Didra

Where’s the “Boycott the reddit gamer trolls” option? Seriously there are some good communities there, but [********] drama gamers make the whole place look bad.

hypefordays
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hypefordays

I was much in the same thought process until I actually looked into this. The way it was handled was incredibly anti-consumer as a whole unless they refund physical copies of people who bought such under the assumption that they could put it on steam and not be forced to download another store. A store that, mind you, has no reviews and plans to make it an “opt in” for companies so that players won’t have a say. A store that has always online DRM for every game, and no offline feature. As well as a store that has little to no way to communicate with people with ease.

To say nothing of just dropping this on people two weeks prior to release after already selling the copies on other outlets. Exclusivity deals in particular are horrid as someone should have the choice of where to buy. Even if one might cost less than the other, the features of one and only having one installed is something someone should be able to determine for themselves and not forcefed.

Wanting to have options and calling out a “fast one” being pulled on you is not being [********]. This is coming from someone who hasn’t bought a new game in almost a decade (minus MMOs/expansions), and has avoided buying anything from steam sales for the last seven years.

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Fenrir Wolf

I’m already fond of Steam, so I have a bias. I’ve seen that some have a peculiar desire to want to see Steam fail, though. I’m left scratching my head by that, but I suppose it’s jealousy, in a way. In that dark triad personalities enjoy watching empires fall and burn, even the okay ones.

Steam has given us much. Let’s have us a good old, country-style listicle!

Steam has given us:

* The Steam cache (which makes things easier for LAN parties, Internet cafes, and small businesses);

* The ability to backup games just by copying their folder, and restore them by copying the folder back and having Steam verify their existence (to my knowledge, no other storefront launcher allows for this);

* The ability to turn off DPI scaling (a sticking point for me which even all “open” browsers fail to include);

* Sales, which have provided those who aren’t so financially stable with the means to enjoy video games that otherwise they wouldn’t have;

* The Steam Workshop, which pretty much single-handedly brought PC modding back from the brink (something not even the Nexus could do, and it’s sad how many have forgotten about the drought that preceded the Workshop);

* A genuine boost to gaming on Linux, with real effort put into systems like Vulkan, Photon, and others to give us hope that there might one day be a future free of bloody Windows (I want this);

* A really great community site where people can share art, stories, and other creations inspired by their favourite games;

* A way to form community groups regarding just about almost any sort of topic imaginable, making it easy to find all sorts of people on Steam (I adore that Steam has a community group named ‘People with ‘Wolf’ in their username’);

* Really good voice-chat that filled the gap between when Skype lost the plot and the inception of the admittedly superior Discord (I really appreciated Steam stepping up at that time, as those were dark times);

* The first painless system for streaming our video games, making it something that anyone could do for their friends/family (others have followed, but Steam’s was the first truly painless effort);

* A unified home for achievements on Steam (whilst I’m not a fan of achievements, my partner absolutely loves them, and even I must admit my fondness for the ‘This is that part’ one in Portal 2);

* The ability to completely skin the interface, thus undoing any questionable UX/UI choices Valve has made that I might disagree with (the unending nightmare of aesthetic ugliness and user-unfriendliness that is Origin could learn a thing or two);

* A way to discover many smaller games that might otherwise be easily missed, as I feel Valve goes out of their way to provide us with the means to find the games we’d love to play as opposed to those big publishers would like for us to play (such as the exploration queue);

* A way for publishers to sell games on their own terms, via their site, or even other storefronts (Steam is one of the only storefronts that allowed developers to generate keys for their games to use as they will);

* An API that’s allowed developers to add into their games an easy, painless way for players to find others to game with (a feature that I wholeheartedly appreciate in Puyo-Puyo Tetris);

* The ability to categories your games however you like (I make extensive use of Steam categories and adamantly refuse to use any storefront that doesn’t allow me to categories my games based upon mood and priority);

* The ability to add links to games that aren’t even on Steam, so you can launch them easily through the Steam launcher.

The thing is? I could go on like this. These are all features under one roof though that no other platform has even an iota of. Even the most established ones lack even the most basic elements of all of what I’ve listed above.

The reason why Steam has reigned so long and supremely — with such aplomb, gusto, and confidence — is because its experience is QUALITATIVE, and that only grows as time goes on. Valve are always finding new and interesting ways to add more quality to Steam as a platform, rather than cynically just trying to make money off of it.

Origin, the Epic Store, the Blizzard launcher, and many others ARE just cynically trying to make money. That’s fine! Just don’t expect me to be a customer when Valve is doing such a good job. What Valve are doing is how you get customers, as they themselves have pointed out. Especially with their usual, yet apt, slogan of ‘pirates are just underserved customers.’

Some wry little spriggans will pipe up to jape and jest about how I’m a Valve employee. That’s fair. I mean, I’m not, but given what I’ve just written it’s entirely understandable. I wish. Sigh. The thing is, though, I see Valve as being unfairly demonised, and I often don’t understand why.

The truth of it seems to have something to do with that they aren’t very manipulative. If you don’t manipulate people into believing they should think good things about you, less scrupulous parties will manipulate the easily convinced into thinking nasty things about you. If anything, Gabe Newelll is amazingly naive in some ways.

And yet, in others, he plays the LONG game (the Linux thing).

The question is: Why would I choose a soulless corporate body over a company that values me as a customer? All other storefronts are playing catch-up because Valve does. It’s not like competition has compelled them to add so much overall value to Steam, is it?

It’d be like picking Xehanort over Sora.

Madness!

And when I look at what Epic’s been up to, the comparison with Xehanort isn’t really too far off base. In fact, it’s eerily fitting. Epic seems pretty heartless. And soulless, that too. Very suit-encrusted in general.

The shenanigans they got up to with Improbable to smear Unity were incredibly unethical. And when that dirty laundry was aired, Unity came out of it as the innocent one with Epic colluding with a company that’d happily sink Unity just to make a little cash on the side.

This brings me back to the point of using marketing manipulation to convince people of just about anything. No one really ever cares to fact-check, correlate, cross-reference, or even ask around. It’s very disappointing, but incredibly typical. If I were feeling especially bitter, i’d even go so far as to say it’s very neurotypical.

It was stunning how Improbable had the gaming community eating out of their hand. I was suspicious as I felt I didn’t have enough information, and why should I believe them without having enough knowledge of what was going down to pick a side? I was on the right track with that choice.

And then, Epic stealing Metro Exodus. That means that the userbase is split, now, between Epic and Steam. So those who might’ve wanted to use Steam features to add that qualitative element were now robbed if they chose to wait for launch. And hose who did pre-order are left with a very flimsy promise about still supporting everyone who bought on Steam.

How late will the patches and DLC be on Steam, do you think?

So, my opinion is the Epic is a skeevy, wriggly little corporate worm. But that’s just their nature. They aren’t really the same Epic that made silly games about manic green rabbits. However, Valve seem to be pretty much the same people who made Half-Life.

People who care about gaming.

As such, I’ll stick with Steam. I don’t think I need anything more than the reasons listed above. That Steam values me, and show that with its qualitative inclusions to Steam, and that Epic just sees me as a walking wallet?

Well, let’s just say it’s a matter of self-respect and dignity.

Chronic Enigma
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Chronic Enigma

Honestly, I just want to log into the platform of my choice, and buy and play the game of my choice for the same price. I will choose the platform based on library, features, and mass of players to play as friends or use as community forums.

Alyn
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Alyn

I do not use Epic, thus I do not know their consumer policies. I additionally didn’t go to research Epic consumer policies either. However, we do need competition; just ethical competition.

smuggler-in-a-yt
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smuggler-in-a-yt

If anything, I’d be worried about what the fallout from this looks like.

Exclusivity arrangements in this industry is bread and butter stuff. But pulling the deal out after pre-sales have started, that’s an interesting precedent. Not sure I can think of another time it’s happened.

And so either a) all the distribution platforms are going to tighten up their contract language to make it more difficult to not follow through on a sales cycle, or b) more platforms will go to exclusivity arrangements.

The first is a bit more pro-consumer, so my fear is that we will likely see the second and thus a lot more fragmentation in the space.

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Yaner

Competition is good. Maybe this will force Valve to actually pull out their feeding tube and do something, at least in the long run if Epic succeeds with this. Valve needs to take a more active approach not only in better deals and support for their developers, but for their consumers as well. Most of the features people praise Valve for (Review, Forums, Early Access) are heavily abused and not even monitored by Valve. So in my personal opinion I’m glad Epic will not have these, however if Valve actually moderated these features and took better care of them I’d have a different opinion.

In short, hopefully Valve will have to step up their game. You can’t blame developers for going there with all the things I mentioned, not to mention that much better revenue split.

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Kevin McCaughey

Your phrase “pull out their feeding tube” is very apt. Especially with Gabe. Valve have been asleep for a long long time. HL3 anyone? Source engine update for the 21st century? Less than 30% skimmed off the top of everyone else’s labour?

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alienlegion

You can have my GoG when you pry it from my cold, dead hands!

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Dividion

How did you type that with cold, dead hands?
(just kidding – I’m also a fan of GoG)

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alienlegion

Trust me …. you are better off not knowing.