Valve(Steam) versus Epic Games

I am not trying to cause a controversy just see how everyone feels about the Valve versus Epic Games. I know it deals with money and companies. My feeling is this If I am a company taking money from another makes me a middle man. With valve its approximately 30% of the game sales go to them. I would rather see the money in the hands of Developers that way they can make better products and possibly reduce the cost. No guarantees though.

Daelvil

I’ll throw in my 2 cents here. Over the last few years, I’ve seen Steam’s service and reliability degrade to the point where I regularly get locked out of games, get game disconnects, etc.

Their constant ‘improvement’ of features like the chat that do not at all need improvement also really rankles me. It seems they are hell bent on introducing annoying buggy features without a way to opt out, and then take months to fix them, if they manage to fix them at all.

So I’ve been moving games away from Steam that are impacted the most (like Path of Exile), but a lot of games I have are so interwoven with Steam that there really isn’t much of an option.

As for Epic… They are currently trying to gain traction, obviously, but as a storefront they leave a lot to desire. I’ll see how that develops.

In general I’m not a fan of having to rely on a bazillion different stores and their associated (and often extremely buggy or performance impacting) ‘launchers’… I would much prefer to just be able to run a game without all the extra bullshit.

And I agree on your assessment that taking a hefty chunk of proceeds impacts the bottom line for a lot of developers. Leaving aside the fact that when your game is on Steam, Steam gets to decide when your game is on sale, and for how much. Unless you’re a really big publisher and can tell them to go F themselves, or you’ll pull your games.

No, they don’t. Valve does not ever dictate prices to people listed on the platform.

And while it is laudable to want a larger cut in the dev’s hands there are a lot of things that Steam does for developers that Epic simple doesn’t do.

Steam will cut Steam keys for free for the devs to do with as they wish. This is how sites like Humble Bundle and GoG are able to offer Steam keys. There is no per-key activation. Steam also eats the cost of distribution (bandwidth, server, etc). So when you purchase a game from another storefront which offers Steam keys that is costing Steam money.

Valve also puts a lot into R&D. Now, you personally, might not get use out out of those features, but a lot of people do. Especially devs. Long story short, Valve is looking at the gaming industry as a whole and trying to keep it open and free as possible. This is why they tried to make the Steam box. This is why they are hopping into VR with the Index controllers and their upcoming VR rig. All of their hardware offerings have had their driver side support be open source. Steam Boxes were based on a modified Ubuntu, the VR driver side is open sourced. In fact they have gone heavily into Linux gaming with the introduction of Proton; WINE baked into Steam to allow Windows games to run on Linux.

So, from the dev perspective here’s what you get from Epic. A buttload of cash up front, a better cut (if you’re an indie or AA dev), waiving of the Unreal Engine 4 cut (if you’re using that engine). All you give up for that is practically all the decent storefront features, security, ability to sell on other storefronts (though Epic is somewhat changing that), and the goodwill of a good portion of your fan base.

From the customer perspective here’s the difference between the two storefronts. Valve, whether people agree with it or not, have always tried to put the customer first. All of their moves have been in an attempt to try to get more power into the hands of the consumer. That is why they go so heavily into open source technologies. Hell, I’d be surprised if they don’t start working with Godot to help get a cross-platform, open source, game engine to a state where it is a competitor for everyone.

With Epic not only are they bringing one of the most reviled practices from the Consoles to PC Gaming (exclusivity), they are doing it in a very scummy way (see Metro Exodus), all the while offering a far inferior customer experience (storefront), no benefits in costs to the consumer (All former Steam announced titles have been priced the same on EGS), a worse experience to international customers (no regional pricing, passing the cost of the payment processor to the customer instead of eating it like Steam does), and a track record of doing very little for the overall for the gaming community, will shut down a lot of Indie development (Epic plans to not allow many indie titles on their store), disallow customer feedback (game reviews can be disabled by the publisher).

Do I, as a consumer, want a cut of my money to go to a company that has tried to expand my power as a consumer and tried to encourage openness and freedom in the gaming industry. Or the company that is actively hostile to me as a consumer and trying to kill the former?

Personally, I’m on option one there. I’d love to play Borderlands 3. The instant they went to EGS is the moment they lost me as a customer. The same goes for Division 2, Outer Worlds & Phoenix Point. By going with EGS, and especially by not lowering prices in light of the lower storefront cut, they have proven that they are actively hostile to me as a customer.

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The closer the game is to the base company, i have gone with them. Hence using UPlay for Div 2. I need to figure out if the console update tool belongs to them though Most of my recent purchases for Uplay games have come directly from them. I have not finally decided on CD Project Red whether to use GoG or buy Cyberpunk 2077 somewhere else when it comes out. GoG is based in Cyprus its a subsidiary of CD Project Red.

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I am not a fan of any platform or business for that matter, that stifles choice. Epic’s sweeping practice of exclusivity for me just means I will not be playing those titles. I uninstalled their launcher and Fortnite.

The hypocrisy of Tim Sweeney to on one hand criticize Microsoft for killing free trade with their store’s exclusivity then create his own platform doing just that is not only unacceptable but insulting to my intelligence.

It also isn’t lost on me that because of the way they are doing business, some developers have decided we gamers are more of a nuisance then a precious commodity. Metro Exodus said that if PC gamers balked from buying their title on Epic they just wouldn’t be making a PC version going forward.

Whatever
Rant off*

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It’s interesting how our perspectives vary. :slight_smile: Personally, I’m all for competition, which almost always helps the consumer (us) in the long run.

It’s not like I’m UNhappy with Steam, though…they’re kind of the proverbial Benevolent Dictatorship. Like Amazon. Or Google. All of which I kinda love.

But if the relationship sours, I want alternatives. :smiley:

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To be fair, that was one developer expressing his frustration and wasn’t the view of the development company or the publisher. That, and he wrote it in Russian. And it was poorly translated. :slight_smile:

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Good call out… I went digging on this a little deeper and found your info to be good. Thanks for pointing that out.

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For me, I’m usually all for having more choices. I personally like Steam because I haven’t had any issues with it, and I have a LOT of games tied to it already. If another competing platform rises up and provides a superior service at the same price point, I’m happy to use them. If the service is “as good”, but the price is cheaper, that’s fine too.

However, my issue with Epic is that they have an inferior service which offers zero benefit to the consumer, and an unclear benefit to the publisher. They do give a larger share of the profits to the publisher, who may or may NOT pass that along to the developer… however, they do this by forming exclusive deals to FORCE the consumer to use their inferior platform if they wish the buy the game. So it’s a larger slice of a smaller pie.

This is very anti-consumer, since it removes our ability to choose. We either get to use an inferior platform, or go hungry. It may also not benefit the developer, since the volume of sales will certainly be lower by preventing sales on competing platforms. Only the “must have” games from industry giants can buck that trend, and even then you have to wonder if it’s enough to offset the lack of a larger market.

If they dropped their exclusivity, I’d be fine with them doing whatever they want to do. Until then, I see is a dirty politics that remind me more of the old mafia technique of sending a guy around to break kneecaps of any business that didn’t sign up with them.

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I am not a fan of Epic store and I don’t care for Tim Sweeney. As mentioned before, the Epic Store is a quite inferior platform and I’m still not convinced it’s sneaking some Chinese spyware in there. When I had the Epic store installed on my computer for the one free game I had on there (Shadow Complex) I saw a decent uptick in spam emails and crap. Coincidental? Maybe, but I have my suspicions.

The main thing that turns me off the Epic Store is this exclusivity crap, you don’t see Steam doing that. It’s just a crap method of validating the Epic store and trying to push people to it, which I reject on principle alone. If Epic developed said game or at least published it I would be fine with it being exclusive to their platform. When Epic is doing it with games they had nothing to do with and eliminating the choice of the consumer then I want nothing to do with them. And Epic is doing it with some rather big name games that I was interested in like Metro Exodus, Outer Worlds and Borderlands 3. I’m passing on all three of those games until they show up on Steam or I’ll end up getting them on the PS4.

I’m all for giving developers more of a cut which I do feel Steam should step up and do, but I don’t feel that Epic is doing this out of any noble sense of generosity, feels more like it is being done in a troll-like manner. Tim Sweeney comes off as a bit trollish to me. Then there’s this little bit that makes Sweeney seem like a lying hypocrite. This interview from a couple years ago has this quote where Sweeney is saying exactly the opposite of what Epic is doing right now.

link to interview/article on PC Gamer

Yeah I don’t trust Sweeney and the Epic Store’s politics and trolling have turned me off of using it anytime in the foreseeable future. I guess I should thank the Epic Store for saving me some money for the time being, but…no.

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I think that’s the general consensus that gamers as a whole are coming to. First party exclusivity is OK. IE, Sony developed titles only on PS4? Microsoft titles on XBox? Nintendo on Switch? Fine; they’re developing for their own hardware and we get that. We may not like it, but we get it.

And by the same token on the PC we’re coming to the point where first-party exclusivity on their own storefronts are understood and grudgingly tolerated. I mean we don’t bitch about Valve only publishing their games on Steam, so we can understand Blizzard/Activision going to Battle.net, EA to Origin, Ubi on uPlay, and yes, even Epic to EGS. I don’t think one person who has raised a stink about EGS exclusivity counts Fortnite on EGS as a problem.

Kind of like how in the early years if RMT Microstransactions it took a while for pusblishers and gamers to hash out that stat boosts are bad and that cosmetics are OK. Of course that’s going off the rails what with FIFA raking in money hand over fist for EA through stat boosts, and COD:BLOPs having something like 5 different RMT systems baked into it for its cosmetics. Don’t even get me started on the $6k pricetag of MK11. :face_vomiting:

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