Epic Games have continuously exhibited their ideal of spending as much of their money as they can in an attempt to seamlessly buy out its competition, more specifically, Steam. Epic recently has also tried to pull off a similar stunt with its first ever Epic Store sale which ended in trouble following on both the developer end and the customer end though.
In concept, the sale that Epic had planned was very beneficial towards customers and the developers and publishers in theory. The way that the said sale was carried out was that any game on the Epic Store that was priced at $15 or higher customers would get $10 taken off, and in addition to this, Epic would have the money that was reduced from the games be given to the developers/publishers from Epic’s own pocket, meaning customers would get games for cheaper and developers/publishers wouldn’t take a hit in the revenue. Again, this is exemplary of Epic throwing its large amounts of money around to try and capitalize on both its customers and developers this time around unlike previous instances which consisted of Epic throwing its money around and receiving ridicule from the gaming public.
However, following the sale’s introduction, numerous games ended up getting pulled from the Epic Store and in addition to this, some games increased their base price while the sale was ongoing. The reason behind this was due to apparently Epic Games not previously alerting some developer partners about this sale and that sufficient communication with developer and publisher partners was not sufficient. One of the highest profile games to temporarily pull their Epic Store page was Paradox Interactive’s Vampire: The Masquerade — Bloodlines 2. Attempting to access the game on the Epic Store now leads to a 404 error and leading to the store page being inaccessible. In a statement issued to PCGamer, Paradox Interactive stated:
“ We are in discussion with Epic regarding the temporary removal of Vampire: the Masquerade — Bloodlines 2 from the Epic Game Store. The game will return to the store soon! Any purchases made while the game was discounted during the Epic Mega Sale will be honored and no Masquerade violations will be assessed.”
It’s worth noting that sales placed on products can harm the product’s overall value and seeing as how Vampire: The Masquerade — Bloodlines 2 hasn’t even been released yet and is still taking pre-orders, a sale probably wouldn’t have been good in Paradox Interactive’s position and would also be bad for some indie developers that just recently released a game or still has a game in early access like Klei Entertainment.
A good example of where devaluing could be a very prominent case is with the upcoming John Wick Hex from Good Shepherd Entertainment. The game is still accepting pre-orders and is yet to be released and is base priced at $15. With Epic’s sale, the price the customer pays is $5 for a game yet to be released immediately taking a hit to the value of the product before it’s out.
Paradox was not isolated in this decision, however, as stated by PCGamer Klei Entertainment’s Oxygen Not Included was also removed from the Epic Store. Additionally Supergiant Games’ Hades received a price hike from $20 to $25 when the sale was ongoing however according to a blog post by Supergiant Games this was seemingly more down to poor timing and they issued an apology and gave advanced notice a price hike would occur when the sale ends on June 14th this year.
There weren’t just problems on the developer end with the store, customers also ran into their own problems. Due to the Epic Store still being seriously underdeveloped and lacking basic store features it’s notable lack of any shopping cart meant users couldn’t buy more than 1 game at a time, which while at first sounding like a small inconvenience, some users stated after buying 5 products that their accounts got locked for fraudulent activity.
In a statement issued to the Russian gaming news site DTF, an Epic Games representative stated the following with regards to VTMB2 being pulled from the Epic store:
“If the developer or publisher decides not to participate in our sale, we respect this decision.
Paradox decided to abandon Epic Mega Sale.
If players bought Vampire: The Masquerade — Bloodlines 2 at a discount, Epic will not charge you extra money.”
This DTF article was spread around quite a bit mainly due to the fact that Sergey Galyonkin of Epic Games posted some comments on the article with some interesting statements that shed some more light onto the whole matter. In the comments, Galyonkin stated the following:
“ 1. Anyone who managed to buy the game at a discount — will receive it at a discount.
2. The game will return to the store.
3. We fully compensate the discount to the publisher, they do not lose money.
4. The publisher was informed in advance about the sale mechanism and was aware of its conditions.”
However, later on, Galyonkin got additional information and had to correct his 4th point in a later statement reading:
“Okay, regarding point 4.
I was sure that Paradox were aware of the sale mechanism. After a little investigation, it turned out that I was wrong.”
The whole existence of this sale while being beneficiary towards the customers it’s yet another example of Epic Games throwing their money around intending not to compete but be a monopoly of the market before it’s even gotten its foot in the door or even when it has yet to get basic store functionality down. In my eyes competition is offering a better service that truly rivals something like Steam, however, Epic is being overly aggressive with their tactics and aren’t offering a better service to the customers. Yes their offers to developers with regards to revenue share is a good move on their part and is beneficiary towards developers but what is there for customers? A barely functioning storefront that is aggressively tackling the market. It’s like instead of climbing the ladder to success, Epic is leaping missing steps and then instances like this come around and Epic fall flat on their asses after they miss the step they were trying to leap to. It’s just continuous problems that are coming out from Epic Games especially when news came out about them overworking employees during Fortnite’s development and it’s these problems that are continuously dragging Epic’s reputation down further in the public eye.
Inspiration for this post was taken from a thread by Twitter user Casey Explosion.