Amid crunch allegations and another dance lawsuit, Epic Games challenges Steam to buff developer payouts

    
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The conflict between Steam and its newest challenger, the Epic Games Store, has thus far been a Cold War of sorts, but the other night on Twitter, Epic Games CEO Tim Sweeney threw down the proverbial gauntlet. In a series of Tweets responding to a question about whether Epic would ever reconsider its strategy of aggressively pursuing EGS-exclusive titles — a matter of much consternation among the PC gaming community as of late — Sweeney wrote, “If Steam committed to a permanent 88% revenue share for all developers and publishers without major strings attached, Epic would hastily organize a retreat from exclusives […] and consider putting our own games on Steam.”

Sweeney’s statement has, perhaps unsurprisingly, garnered quite the reaction from gamers and journalists, though maybe not the kind he was hoping for, given that its timing is mighty convenient, following the recent Polygon report into Epic’s treatment of its own Fortnite devs during the perpetual crunch following the game’s immense success.

And speaking of Fortnite, yet another lawsuit has been added to the seemingly endless list of Epic’s legal battles over Fortnite emotes. This time around, musician Leo Pellegrino is accusing epic of “misappropriating his likeness for the game’s ‘Phone It In’ emote.” Pellegrino is being represented by the same law firm that has represented other plaintiffs, including Alfonso Ribeiro and rapper 2 Milly, but this time around, Gamasutra reports, they’re taking a slightly different approach:

While those past cases focused on copyright infringement over the use of certain dance moves, Pellegrino is arguing that Epic’s use of his “trademark moves [that] have become inseparable from his persona and his life story” makes this a case of using his likeness without permission or compensation rather than copyright infringement.

Whether this tactic will allow Pellegrino to succeed where others have thus far failed remains to be seen, but it seems safe to say that the saga of the Fortnite emote lawsuits is far from over.

Source: Gamasutra (1, 2), Twitter

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Sashaa

One would have to be pretty naïve to fall for this lousy PR.

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Schlag Sweetleaf

“Oh, I didn’t get rich by writing a lot of checks.”

-Bill Gates
SO9E14

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oldandgrumpy
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oldandgrumpy

Maybe he should spend a bit more of all that Fortnite money Epic is rolling in on a genuine games store rather than the current mess.

Try a few new things like allowing downloads/updates to be reordered in the queue. Waiting for a fornite patch to complete downloading, all 17Gb of it, before I can download the game I just bought from the store is not enhancing my user experience. Not when I have limited bandwidth.

Maybe have a look at how the steam store works and copy some of it’s good features. /s

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NeoWolf

When I first saw this on twitter yesterday I have to admit it changed my mind entirely on the subject.

Before I was fairly annoyed by all the Epic exclusivity deals as it made things inconvenient for those consumers like me who are annoyed at having to have multiple launchers. The big plus of steam is the convenience of everything in one place.

But then I read about how the deal to have a game on steam was fairly bad and that the developers were not the ones benefitting, steam was and again I was interested but not overly fussed..as either way whoever is getting the money steam or the developers we were still thes one brunting ALL the cost at the end of the day not either of them..and I don’t see anyone taking a stance on fairer prices for consumers..afterall.

But then as I say I read that epic were happy to end the exclusivity deals IF steam made it a fairer cut for developers I couldn’t help but feel actually that was a really cool thing a company was overlooking the possible finiancial benefits for themselves in order to improve situations for the ones making the games. And it was..well… a nice gesture. (didn’t affect us consumers but still..a nice, well intentioned gesture).

It will be interesting to see Steams response..if any.

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kvlt_vonnegut

yeah too bad it was 100% bad faith horseshit

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3dom

So I’ve tried Epic store with some recent releases (World War Z is a damn fun and a damn short third-person shooter).

Conclusion: Epic store & Co are just a bunch of cheap trolls without user reviews rating, without forums, without selection of games – but with shady and buggy third-party payment gateway (for my region). If anything it feels like an arrogant pestle-and-mortar indie store rather than a multi-billion enterprise. Or maybe their management just wasted all the Fortnite money buying yachts instead of developing their service.

p.s. Purchased Mortal Kombat 11 today on Steam. *Despite* 50% user reviews rating (“utter crap”) – because user reviews clearly indicate there are problems with cheap-ish hardware while I have a decent gaming laptop (thanks, MSI!). Good service, superb game by the way.

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PurpleCopper

Sweeney is spewing such bullshit statements. He KNOWS that Valve will never drop from 30% to 12% cut, that’s why he can say such a ridiculous claim about stopping moneyhatting exclusives.

If Valve somehow did drop 30% to 12% cut (very unlikely due to international payment processes fees), Sweeney is just gonna move the goalposts. Sweeney knows that NOBODY will use the Epic Games Store without moneyhatting exclusives, that’s why he’s saying such ridiculous promises.

Also, funny how he doesn’t call out OTHER companies that utilizes the same 30% cut, you got Microsoft, Nintendo, Sony, Apple, and Google doing the same thing for their games.

That being said, I’m sure Valve can reduce their cut from 30% to something more reasonable 24% perhaps with a lot of logistical restructuring, but 12%? give me a break.

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rosieposie

He’s not wrong, Steam is a pretty damn egregious parasite among parasites, I mean middlemen.

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Jeremy Barnes

What BS from epic on the revenue split. Sweeney can’t open his mouth without lying.

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Fervor Bliss

How many games are exclusively on Steam? Such hypocrisy. Steam is just another corporation.

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BalsBigBrother

There are not that many that are sold exclusively on Steam which is how the Epic Game Store started with their exclusives and that was one of my main issues with them.

With Steam you would have to use it as your launcher but have the option to buy your games elsewhere at place like Green Man Gaming, Humble Store etc etc then redeem the key on steam.

I am happy to see Epic have started down that path too and are offering their “exclusives” for sale at those stores too. Now I don’t have to give my payment details to Epic (I don’t trust them with those details.) I am willing to buy elsewhere and use it as a launcher that I just redeem keys on and then play.

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agemyth 😩

How many games are exclusively on Steam?

Contractually speaking, there are none.

Publishers and developers handed all this power to Steam/Valve voluntarily over time. They have always been free to put their games on their other platforms, including their own like Uplay and Origin.

I like to see organizations making big moves that make Valve sweat a bit to stay on top, but I don’t care for the approach Epic is taking. I’m the type that buys games on GOG and itch.io happily when companies make those options available and promote them along with Steam as options.

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Fervor Bliss

Sure if you want to add the word “contractually” to my statement go ahead.
If exclusively is your issue Steam has many games not available anywhere else.
Creators should be able to sell their product how they want. If they want to use the Epic store and contract that is their business, not mine.
How is forcing creators into Valve Corporation helping the exclusive issue?

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Axetwin .

Outside of Valve’s first party titles, what games are exclusive to Steam?

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BalsBigBrother

Even those are not sold exclusively on steam like the Epic Games Store ones were.

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Michael18

I don’t have issues with creators looking for the best deal they can get. It’s a tough business and market, so I can understand that.

I do have issues with Epic throwing Fortnite $$ around to buy so many copies of popular upcoming games that creators are willing to remove their game from the open market (for 1 year) and let Epic use those bought copies to force customers into accepting terms that are not in their interest, just to get access to the game.

Epic is the evil guy here, not the creators.

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Fervor Bliss

Is there really a evil person here.

Epic sees the s##show that is steam and says I can help out creators and make a buck.

Creators see that they can make a buck. Then in a year put their stuff on steam for the 75% Quinceañera sale and people can put it in their games I bought and will never play database.

Steam. Will continue with “it worked in the days of dial-up it will work today” don’t change a thing attitude.

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Wilhelm Arcturus

This sounds more like Epic trolling Steam than any legitimate offer. Why would Epic give up exclusives, the one thing they can do to pull business from Steam, no matter what business model or developer cut Steam chose to offer? It boarders on nonsensical.

I find it more likely that this is Epic trying to distract from its own problems and/or cast themselves as the “good guys” versus greedy old Valve.

As for Leo Pellegrino, he is going to find, as the others found, that you cannot protect simple gestures or moves. The USPTO has pretty clear rules on this. His suit amounts to extortion in the face of that, and his lawyers know it. He’ll lose, regardless of how he attempts to dress it up. Anytime something becomes successful people suddenly want to get their piece of the pie.

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Frank White

I had no idea who the F Leo Pellegrino was until I Googled him just now, and probably neither does 9 out of 10 Fortnite gamers. Maybe that’s why he’s really suing them, because otherwise people like myself might NEVER have been aware of his existence. (Okay, I know it’s at this point that one or two people chime in to ask me if I’ve been living under a rock and how could I not know about Leo Pellegrino and his waaay cool band, Too Many Zooz, lol.)