—for years, Steam has been the only digital games store for many players
December 14, 2018 7:28 AM   Subscribe

Epic Games takes on Steam with its own fairer game store [The Verge] “Epic Games, the developer of Fortnite and the widely used game-making software Unreal Engine, is about to start selling other companies’ games, too. Epic is launching a new online store like Valve’s Steam that will similarly feature third-party games, marking yet another substantial threat to Steam’s dominant position as the lead distributor of PC titles. Epic’s store, which is set to launch soon, will start with a select number of PC and Mac games, and it will open up to more developers next year.”
■ No, there’s no store-wide DRM, though game developers can add their own.
■ No, Epic doesn’t plan to add social components like game streaming or forums.
■ Yes, Epic will help devs take advantage of online features in their games (presumably things like chat, matchmaking, and cloud saves, though they weren’t mentioned by name).
■ Yes, the Epic Store will offer refunds — initially through customer support, though an automated, 14-day, no-questions-asked return policy should follow soon.
■ Yes, it’ll be available outside the US, in “most countries in the world except for China and where prohibited by US law, such as North Korea and Iran.”
• Epic Games is launching its own store, and taking a smaller cut than Steam [Polygon]
“But what’s most novel is how Epic Games plans to work with developers who sell their games through its storefront. In a blog post on the Unreal Engine website, Epic detailed the profit margins for developers first and foremost, with the majority of revenue going straight to developers. “Developers receive 88% of revenue,” the company wrote. “There are no tiers or thresholds. Epic takes 12%. And if you’re using Unreal Engine, Epic will cover the 5% engine royalty for sales on the Epic Games store, out of Epic’s 12%.””
• Tim Sweeney Answers Questions About The New Epic Games Store [Game Informer]
“The 70/30 percent split was a breakthrough more than a decade ago with the advent of Steam, the Apple App Store, and Google Play. But today, digital software stores have grown into a $25,000,000,000+ business worldwide across all platforms, yet the economies of scale have not benefited developers. In our analysis, stores are marking up their costs 300 percent to 400 percent. We simply aim to give developers a better deal. While running Fortnite we learned a lot about the cost of running a digital store on PC. The math is quite simple: we pay around 2.5 to 3.5 percent for payment processing for major payment methods, less than 1.5 percent for CDN costs (assuming all games are updated as often as Fortnite), and between 1 and 2 percent for variable operating and customer support costs. Fixed costs of developing and supporting the platform become negligible at a large scale. In our analysis, stores charging 30 percent are marking up their costs by 300 to 400 percent. But with developers receiving 88 percent of revenue and Epic receiving 12 percent, this store will still be a profitable business for us.”
• Epic's Game Store Is Already Locking Down Exclusives [Kotaku]
“Epic Games’ new store is not only taking the fight to Steam by giving developers a bigger cut of their games’ earnings—it’s locking down exclusive games, too. So far, six developers have said their games will be exclusive to the Epic store for a while, in some cases up to a year. These include interesting indies like Hades and Ashen, as well as Super Meat Boy Forever, which will launch in April 2019 and be exclusive to the Epic store for a year. The Epic store is “desperately needed to get Steam to give a shit,” said Team Meat’s Tommy Refenes in the game’s Discord channel (via PC Gamer). Refenes, like many other developers of Epic store-exclusive games, noted that some fans are upset that they’ll have to use multiple apps to play their game libraries. “It may [mean] more launchers, sure, but a small price to pay for a developer community that doesn’t feel like they have one choice on PC.””
• The Epic Games Store is the best thing that could happen to Steam [Engadget]
“This month's Valve-Epic rivalry isn't a matter of life or death for either company. The Epic Games store can't cannibalize Steam with a few exclusives, and Steam can't stop Epic from snagging new games by offering a better revenue share. Both companies are bigger than their launchers: Steam is the sole proprietor of a handful of illustrious franchises, plus it's dabbling in hardware development and VR, while Epic has the Unreal Engine and Fortnite. This is a battle between two multi-billion-dollar companies. However it shakes out, they'll both likely be fine. But, with billions behind it, the Epic Games store represents the first real competition for Steam in more than a decade, and that means PC gaming is about to change in a major way. "Competition is good, but the PC market has no competition. There is only Steam," Refenes said. "But what happens when the Epic Games store gets its footing and grows into a PC marketplace powerhouse? What would that force Steam to do? It would force them to improve.”
posted by Fizz (52 comments total) 12 users marked this as a favorite
 
■ No, Epic doesn’t plan to add social components like game streaming or forums.

I mean, honestly, this is a huge selling point right here. No friends list, no "curators" with their hilarious joke reviews, no forums full of unmoderated white supremacists, etc., etc.
posted by tobascodagama at 7:29 AM on December 14, 2018 [31 favorites]


With Steam you mostly shake hands with the devil and you have the advantage of having all of your games in one convenient place, but that means you also have to follow the devil's rules.

If you step outside of the Devil's playground, you might have to install a few more launchers (and boy are there a ton of them): Humble, GOG, Itch.io, UPlay, Origin, Battlenet, etc, but you at least have more freedom of choice. Competition is good for the marketplace, so I'm happy that Epic Games is challenging Steam.
posted by Fizz at 7:35 AM on December 14, 2018 [4 favorites]


Paying middle men less is good.
posted by Going To Maine at 7:39 AM on December 14, 2018 [2 favorites]


Is Epic Games one of the atrociously abusive and misogynist game developers, or is it one of the other kind? I feel like that matters here.
posted by Anticipation Of A New Lover's Arrival, The at 7:40 AM on December 14, 2018 [9 favorites]


But what happens when the Epic Games store gets its footing and grows into a PC marketplace powerhouse? What would that force Steam to do? It would force them to improve.

Does this mean we'll finally see Half Life 3?
posted by dis_integration at 7:40 AM on December 14, 2018 [1 favorite]


It has a better revenue share, which is great, but that's kind of all it has, right now.

The most developer-friendly thing that Steam does it let them generate unlimited codes for copies of their game. Want to sell through another storefront? Your own personal website? You can do that on Steam.

■ Yes, the Epic Store will offer refunds — initially through customer support, though an automated, 14-day, no-questions-asked return policy should follow soon.
Supposedly, the wording on this is 14 day no questions asked returns...twice.

■ No, Epic doesn’t plan to add social components like game streaming or forums.
As already mentioned, forums are pits of scum and villainy, but they are also central public locations to report and solve issues with games. Oh, the game crashed at the end of level 2? More than once? Let's check the steam forums and see if this is a known problem for people, and if there's a workaround.

Other things provided by the steam community pages - walkthroughs, and links to unofficial patches (for perverts, but also old un-updated games that need patches to work well on modern systems), etc.

Reviews are a mixed bag of course, but if you don't have a website or forum you trust, they're a better place to learn about a game than YouTube shills.

Steam is a huge, largely un-moderated dumping ground for games, and the store has become ponderous and hard to navigate unless you know what you're looking for. But there's no indication that Epic will do any better.
posted by graventy at 7:59 AM on December 14, 2018 [7 favorites]


Is Epic Games one of the atrociously abusive and misogynist game developers, or is it one of the other kind? I feel like that matters here

I don’t think so. Epic is the one that rips off black artists in a game that is arguably itself ripped off.
posted by rodlymight at 8:03 AM on December 14, 2018 [8 favorites]


A new challenger approachs!

Is Epic Games one of the atrociously abusive and misogynist game developers, or is it one of the other kind? I feel like that matters here.

As far as I know there's been no big scandals involving Epic itself, though Tim Sweeney seems to definitely have some tech CEO-itis. But Steam is also known for having no consistent policy on what it allows, no moderators for either its games or its forums, does nothing against review brigading, and is basically content to collect its 30% by doing fuck all.
posted by kmz at 8:03 AM on December 14, 2018 [3 favorites]


Meanwhile Discord's over here offering a 90/10 split.

If you step outside of the Devil's playground, you might have to install a few more launchers (and boy are there a ton of them): Humble, GOG, Itch.io, UPlay, Origin, Battlenet, etc

Humble doesn't have its own launcher and I guffawed at Origin being included in a list of "not Devil aligned", but I see where you were going with your metaphor. Still, with Epic 40% owned by Tencent, let's not pretend they're a scrappy new upstart. We're largely going to have the choice of

Supposedly, the wording on this is 14 day no questions asked returns...twice.

That's cool, there are only two games.

(I won't say I'm not tempted though, Hades looks right up my alley.)
posted by ODiV at 8:04 AM on December 14, 2018 [4 favorites]


I'm glad to see some competition for Valve but I have to say as a game purchaser, it's been really nice having one single platform for all the games I bought. Except for EA and Blizzard that is. EA's Origin is just awful. The Blizzard Launcher isn't so bad.
posted by Nelson at 8:09 AM on December 14, 2018 [1 favorite]


Weird, I just trailed off there. We're largely going to have the choice between a few big players (and of course itch.io <3).

(Epic) is basically content to collect its 30% by doing fuck all.

It's 12%, but yeah if they're doing fuck all then it should be a very easy pass for developers and publishers.
posted by ODiV at 8:09 AM on December 14, 2018


Is Epic Games one of the atrociously abusive and misogynist game developers, or is it one of the other kind?

You're thinking of CDPR, the owners of GOG. Epic is just regular corporate scummy.
posted by tobascodagama at 8:10 AM on December 14, 2018 [2 favorites]


(Epic) is basically content to collect its 30% by doing fuck all.

It's 12%, but yeah if they're doing fuck all then it should be a very easy pass for developers and publishers.


Thank you for changing the first word in my sentence and then correcting the incorrect quote?
posted by kmz at 8:12 AM on December 14, 2018 [6 favorites]


Will they also be better than Steam at keeping out obvious Nazi dogwhistle bullshit games, but let people have their smutty visual novels?
posted by SansPoint at 8:15 AM on December 14, 2018 [3 favorites]


It sounds heartless but I'm honestly bored of storefronts offering a new Steam-alternative for indie devs. Itch.io does the job of grassroots indie really well, and there's reasonable audiences on sites like GOG and Humble. I don't think the market really needs another.

What I really want is for Epic's store to help fund new triple-A PC games. I want new franchises at least of the scale of Total War or Civilization, and right now Steam is the only place selling enough numbers and providing enough business support to get jittery investors to put money into PC games.
posted by Eleven at 8:19 AM on December 14, 2018


kmz: You're welcome! (No idea how I misread it that badly, sorry. I guess I just missed the word Steam?)
posted by ODiV at 8:24 AM on December 14, 2018


(No, that doesn't work either. Hm, I guess I just mentally deleted that whole start of the sentence.)

Anyway, I'm not missing a Humble launcher right? They're just a storefront for mostly Steam keys?
posted by ODiV at 8:27 AM on December 14, 2018 [2 favorites]


For instance, here's the Steam Documentation for their store. It covers marketing, finance, localisation, taxes and a whole host of other concerns a business needs to think about when trying to pitch their idea to the business suits. It's not that great, and devs have a lot of complaints about it, but it's also massively ahead of anything else in the PC games industry in supporting PC gaming as a viable business model.
posted by Eleven at 8:29 AM on December 14, 2018


If this is anything like self-publishing ebooks...

Actually I have no idea if they’re analogs, but I do wonder if Steam will offer a subscription option with a payout pool to devs based on how much time people spend playing their games.

I do hope they challenge steam.
posted by schadenfrau at 8:31 AM on December 14, 2018 [1 favorite]


The best outcome would see Valve reducing its exposure to the newly competitive rent collection industry by reinvesting in the peerless single player FPS business.
posted by Iridic at 8:39 AM on December 14, 2018 [2 favorites]


The Epic Store, In Its Current State, Is Not Good For Anyone (by the developer of Cook, Serve, Delicious)

Essentially the argument is that Epic is trying to compete not on feature set to developers OR consumers, but instead by a) offering developers a sweeter revenue cut, which is generally a good thing, but also b) by locking up exclusives that can no longer be purchased via other storefronts.

Epic's lack of forums and encouraging developers to take tech support and discussion "in-house" via publisher-run Discords or support sites has led to weird side effects. The example of Ashen shows up in the article: after the game launched, people began using the Steam forums to file bug reports and ask questions about the game, despite the fact that Ashen had been pulled from the Steam store specifically to launch on Epic instead. Not having forums automatically provided to you means people can't brigade your game or harass people in your community in a way that requires you to suddenly pony up for moderators. But it also means you are now solely responsible for providing the benefits that the forum platform also provided, like an easy and highly visible way for people to post fixes and workarounds for your game.

But a key phrase in the headline of the article is "in its current state." There is nothing to suggest that Epic couldn't address its issues. Epic recently announced that in 2019, it would release many of the platform tools it used for Fortnite. Some of those tools are Epic playing catch-up to Steam, but some represent unclaimed territory, like cross-platform network play and matchmaking.

I am open to competition; Steam needs someone to hold it to account, and so far stores like GOG haven't been able to do it (to say nothing of their recent maybe-mistaken-probably-not courting of alt-right audiences). But it can't just be competition for competition's sake. Other storefronts tend to thrive either because they take a different angle (GOG has a large body of older games and has a strict no-DRM policy; Itch.io is the home of all the weird, obscure and lovable indie games/experiments/interactive art) or because they offer something you can't get anywhere else (Origin is the only place to buy modern EA games; Bethesda has begun doing the same). I think people would rather Epic take the former approach rather than the latter.
posted by chrominance at 8:45 AM on December 14, 2018 [8 favorites]


I don't think Valve has anything really going on right now except for Steam? So I don't think they'll be able to compete with aggressive price slashing. Since Epic can fund their store out of the geyser that ejects pure gold Fortnite profits and point every Fortnite player at their launcher instead of Steam's, they stand the best chance of upsetting this bullshit applecart. Epic isn't great, but it isn't terrible, either.

I'm rooting for this in principle, but as a former indie developer (burned many times), there's still no fucking chance for people like us to pay the bills with it unless lightning strikes. It's not really the sales platform that's the problem, it's the mass of content, which leads to a desperate race to a sales price of a dollar, and given that the big moneymaker games now are forking free to play, including Fortnite, I just don't see that this changes the landscape for little devs in any really significant way.
posted by seanmpuckett at 8:46 AM on December 14, 2018 [4 favorites]


It has a better revenue share, which is great, but that's kind of all it has, right now.

Well, right now what it has is exclusive control of Fortnite, which is -- and I am perhaps understanding things a little here, because I am the father of two teenage boys -- literally the only thing on the planet that matters at all.

How they leverage that will be interesting to watch, but they have already successfully told a little mobile OS company called Google to FOAD, so I think Valve should probably watch its back.
posted by The Bellman at 8:54 AM on December 14, 2018 [2 favorites]


Soon we will need a launcher-launcher that brings together all your app stores in one place and schedules updates among them so they aren't all competing for processing power and bandwidth.
posted by Pyry at 8:57 AM on December 14, 2018 [6 favorites]


I don't think Valve has anything really going on right now except for Steam?

As far as I know Dota2 and to a lesser extent TF2 and CS:GO still basically print money for Valve. Of course they're all basically monetized using the same F2P/moneyhats method Fortnite has recently used.
posted by kmz at 8:57 AM on December 14, 2018 [1 favorite]


I mean, honestly, this is a huge selling point right here. No friends list, no "curators" with their hilarious joke reviews, no forums full of unmoderated white supremacists, etc., etc.

My "favorite" thing about curators is that if you mash the "ignore this curator" button enough times Steam will eventually give up on suggesting them, with a message that "it looks like you're not interested in using curators, or maybe we're just bad at finding ones you'll like." But there is no option to say "I am not interested in using curators."

If that's not modern "helpful" app design in a nutshell, I don't know what is.
posted by Holy Zarquon's Singing Fish at 8:59 AM on December 14, 2018 [2 favorites]


Well, right now what it has is exclusive control of Fortnite, which is -- and I am perhaps understanding things a little here, because I am the father of two teenage boys -- literally the only thing on the planet that matters at all.

How they leverage that will be interesting to watch,


Blizzard branched out recently with Activision and so you can now get all of their games plus Call of Duty Black Ops IIII and Destiny 2. I think it's been working well and I think we'll be seeing them roll out other games over time.

But you're right, how all of these smaller launchers/platforms will use those platforms to engage in the marketplace has been interesting to watch.
posted by Fizz at 9:06 AM on December 14, 2018 [1 favorite]


As far as I know Dota2 and to a lesser extent TF2 and CS:GO still basically print money for Valve.

Oh right, CS:GO just went F2P and launched their own Battle Royale mode (max 18 players, what?). I wonder how that's doing for them.

If Discord is lucky and plays their cards right then they might just be the default chat/launcher everyone uses for their myriad platforms. I'm hoping Epic launching their store breaks down some mental barriers for people who have been Steam only so far, who then go to try cool stuff on itch.io or other small outfits.
posted by ODiV at 9:11 AM on December 14, 2018 [1 favorite]


I don't think Valve has anything really going on right now except for Steam?

They just released a new card game, Artifact. Made by the creator of Magic the Gathering and it's basically a money-machine for them. This might be deserving of it's own post but I'll share this here anyways.

• 'Artifact' Isn't a Game on Steam, It's Steam in a Game [Waypoint]
“With 10,975 reviews in on Steam, Artifact’s score is“Mixed”, which, on Steam, is a sure sign that something has gone seriously wrong. It doesn’t take a lot of searching to uncover the culprit: How Artifact is monetized.

“This is not a card game, it’s a credit card game,” writes one user in a typical negative review, upset that there’s (a) no in-game currency, the way that most multiplayer games (especially free-to-play) have a currency that you can earn through playing (b) it costs money to compete in a lot of game modes that are designed for advanced and competitive players and (c) that the game more-or-less forces players to buy and sell cards on the Steam Marketplace. Early estimates suggest that getting a full set of 310 cards will set you back around $300 – less than an elite Magic deck, but 15 times as much as Artifact costs. Most of these reviews concede as a matter of course that Artifact is, unquestionably, a great game. (It is.) It’s the metagame that’s the problem.

This poses a dilemma for reviewers. Artifact, clearly, is a flashpoint for ongoing debates about the relationship of mechanics to monetization. Artifact’s woes are not just because of how it separates players from their money, but because of how flagrantly it ties these two arenas together, the ritual of play bound and gagged to the vulgarity of buying and selling.”
posted by Fizz at 9:11 AM on December 14, 2018 [5 favorites]


Exclusives are bad for everyone. They will drive up prices for consumers. They will limit developer choice in terms of marketing, locking them into platforms and their cost structures and marketing schemes. Ultimately they've bad for the "platforms" themselves, as markets will fragment. Buyers aren't going to want to bother with managing multiple storefronts.
posted by bonehead at 10:02 AM on December 14, 2018 [1 favorite]


Artifact is pretty much just the Magic collectables nonsense from the 90s ported over to an electronic platform, isn't it? I mean, they've put in a lot of complications and wrinkles, but it's really is just the old "buy more packs to chase the rares", as far as I can tell. Mr. Suitcase is reborn as Mr. Credit Card.
posted by bonehead at 10:05 AM on December 14, 2018


It's weird, too, as Wizards of the Coast's new game, Magic: The Gathering Arena, is quite accessible and not offensively monetized as far as I can tell. You can't trade cards, and there's no real solution to the "fifth card problem" yet (that is, nothing interesting happens when you get more copies of a certain card than you can include in most decks), but it's... just fine. Not even close to the nightmarish hellscape of fees that Artifact seems to be.
posted by lumensimus at 10:14 AM on December 14, 2018


Kind of, well not quite burying the lead, but leaving out some very significant information.

Subnautica, one of the best PC games of the year, is being given away free this week in the Epic Store. (That's free as in beer, not free as in Fortnight.)
posted by straight at 10:17 AM on December 14, 2018 [7 favorites]


Is there some sort of aggregation app like Trillian used to do for chat clients, that can talk to all these various storefronts and show users what the price differences are, which games are available in which store, etc? Between Steam, Humble, Itch.io, GoG, Discord, Epic, Oculus, Viveport, it's getting a little difficult to keep track. And that's not even getting into the console or mobile platforms.
posted by subocoyne at 10:30 AM on December 14, 2018 [3 favorites]


keanu_woah.jpg !

Subnautica is super super good.
posted by GCU Sweet and Full of Grace at 10:31 AM on December 14, 2018 [3 favorites]


Subnautica is super super good.

Like a better self-contained version of No Man's Sky, only under water good!!
posted by Fizz at 10:39 AM on December 14, 2018


I love steam, but it's definitely good to have some competition, and you can't beat free games to get folks in the door.
posted by es_de_bah at 10:52 AM on December 14, 2018 [1 favorite]


Artifact is pretty much just the Magic collectables nonsense from the 90s ported over to an electronic platform, isn't it? I mean, they've put in a lot of complications and wrinkles, but it's really is just the old "buy more packs to chase the rares", as far as I can tell. Mr. Suitcase is reborn as Mr. Credit Card.

Yeah, except that with Magic, it's possible to play a friendly game where you let players construct decks on an even playing field by using homemade versions of rare cards. That's not possible with an online "card" game like Artifact.
posted by straight at 10:54 AM on December 14, 2018


Subnautica? The game with the super broken VR mode?
posted by davros42 at 10:59 AM on December 14, 2018


Maybe I'm just old, and I did most of my PC gaming pre-Steam, but I find the "I like having my games in one place" argument for Steam I see a few places weird.

Your games are already in one place? Your PC? You just click a different icon instead of Steam? It doesn't even seem like more clicks or anything. [Open Steam, open Epic Launcher, open whatever]

The only way it kind of makes sense is if some people don't really do anything else with their PC, and thus Steam=PC to them (the way Chrome or IE or Safari = PC to many non gamers).

[I have Steam, but only maybe 8 games --- I always try to buy outside it when possible, and most of my games are direct-launched the old-fashioned way. If I wanted to play a game where I had a choice of Steam or Anything Else, I'd take the latter --- Steam has been somewhere between bad and neutral the times I've had to deal with it]

So I hope Epic [or someone else] succeeds, although there are no games on there I'd want to play for now. [I mean, I'd rather games just gave me a game without having to go through a launcher, but I realize that ship may have sailed]
posted by thefoxgod at 11:08 AM on December 14, 2018 [3 favorites]


A lot of the indie devs I follow have been giving shoutouts to itch.io in the wake of this announcement, which lets you set any revenue split you want (with a default of 90-10, if I recall right). I like it because it makes it super easy to host game jam games (and also to host game jams, for that matter).
posted by NMcCoy at 11:22 AM on December 14, 2018 [1 favorite]


Is there some sort of aggregation app like Trillian used to do for chat clients, that can talk to all these various storefronts and show users what the price differences are, which games are available in which store, etc?

One possibility is IsThereAnyDeal which will show where you can buy a given game, what it costs at each site/store and how much it has has cost in the past, among other things. It's a website so you're not getting meta-launcher functionality (or even purchasing, it's just pointing you to store pages) but it's helpful. They've already added the Epic Game Store.
posted by sysinfo at 11:28 AM on December 14, 2018 [4 favorites]


Epic doesn’t plan to add social components like game streaming or forums.

I get a lot of value from Steam forums. Not from the social side of things, but "wtf is wrong with this game and is it fixable?" is often covered on the forums, along with "so... is this early access thing abandoned?"

I love Steam reviews. I start by looking at the negative ones - they let me know if people hate the game because it's short, or easy, or crashes on opening half the time, or the jump controls are soft, or the puzzles are boring, or too hard, or it gets grindy after the first couple of sections, or it takes precise single-pixel accuracy. Or if it's a decent game but people think it costs too much. "Short and boring" may be just fine for me - I like walking sims. "Jump controls suck" means I should skip the game no matter how interesting it looks.

I like the idea of competition for Steam, but am meh about that being another large corporation that doesn't give a damn about players outside of early-20's middle-class white boys. So far, that's what this looks like.
posted by ErisLordFreedom at 11:54 AM on December 14, 2018 [4 favorites]


I just installed Steam for the first time last night, to buy Cities: Skylines (held off so long because my old computer, which was compatible with pre-extortionary-subscription Adobe CS software, was too old for the game). The game is great, but the Steam experience – multiple problems with their software (bugs, poor design decisions, etc.) and the rampant immature behavior i’ve seen on the message boards even on boring tech support questions (bad moderation) – means i’ll probably only use it for that one game, which i would have bought elsewhere if the developer had made that option available.

I am not inclined to give Valve any more money due to how they run their company.
posted by D.C. at 1:26 PM on December 14, 2018 [3 favorites]


Maybe I'm just old, and I did most of my PC gaming pre-Steam, but I find the "I like having my games in one place" argument for Steam I see a few places weird.

Your games are already in one place? Your PC? You just click a different icon instead of Steam? It doesn't even seem like more clicks or anything. [Open Steam, open Epic Launcher, open whatever]


Yes, you have them on your PC, but then what happens when you have a hard drive crash, you get a new PC, you split time between two households, or whatever else. If all your stuff is on Steam then you have access to it all relatively easily, including saves (though watch that bandwidth usage!).

I don't mind going to a few different places for games myself, but I understand wanting to keep it simple.
posted by ODiV at 2:15 PM on December 14, 2018 [3 favorites]


The Epic Store may not be better, but I am very, very ready for Valve to take a dive. I resent their lazy 30% cut for not doing much, their creepy libertarianism, their fascination with forcing markets into everything they can, their 'innovative' 'flat' company that, as far as I can tell, mostly doesn't work, and their army of volunteer white knights who bought a great game at a 90% discount seven years ago and think that if they keep the faith they'll get that kind of deep discount again.
posted by Merus at 4:37 PM on December 14, 2018 [4 favorites]


> Epic’s store, which is set to launch soon, will start with a select number of PC and Mac games

Since Fortnite doesn't run on Linux, I'm guessing they have no plans to support open source desktops. And I don't mean Fortnite doesn't have a native Linux client, it can't even run under Wine. It runs on Android, but that's only marginally open source, and not a desktop OS.

Valve worked hard to get games ported to Linux. Maybe eventually Epic will port their games to WebAssembly or something. I don't play a lot of games, so until that happens, the little money I do spend on games will to to Valve, not Epic.

#nerdrage
posted by Loudmax at 5:50 PM on December 14, 2018 [2 favorites]


One thing that I really wish Steam did was uninstall things cleanly. It seems like that should be one of the things it absolutely guarantees, but even after uninstalling a steam game there can be weird preference files left scattered all over the place.
posted by Going To Maine at 7:48 PM on December 14, 2018


who bought a great game at a 90% discount seven years ago and think that if they keep the faith they'll get that kind of deep discount again.

I don't understand this complaint at all. I see 50-90% discounts on great games all the time. I forget how many times per year the Steam sales run, but it's at least 5 or 6 times a year. Plus, there's the weekday and weekend sales. Plus there's things like the Humble Store's big sales which provide Steam keys at deep discounts.

You sound like substantial discounting is somehow a rare thing when it's incredibly common. And predictable. AAA game comes out for $60. If you're patient, you can get it on sale within a year for $30-40. Wait to around the 1.5 to 2 year mark, and you can probably find the base game for $20 during a sale. Wait another 6 months to a year and get the base game for $10 to $15 and the full version with all DLC for $20. Indie games often follow the same pattern. This timeline is often accelerated if the game wasn't a hit at release.

It's so predictable that devs regularly (and understandably) complain about it. That they can't sell enough at a sustainable price because most people wait for the Steam Sales. This isn't some rare, once-in-seven-years miracle. I can understand disliking Steam, but game pricing isn't one of their problems. At least not from the customer's point of view.
posted by Teegeeack AV Club Secretary at 5:48 AM on December 15, 2018 [5 favorites]


On the Subnautica derail, I had never heard of it until this thread, downloaded it, played it for about 20 minutes, was utterly underwhelmed. I could go on but that's all I really want to say. Thanks.
posted by glonous keming at 9:46 AM on December 15, 2018


You didn't get to the good part.
posted by Nelson at 10:28 AM on December 15, 2018 [3 favorites]


I forget how many times per year the Steam sales run, but it's at least 5 or 6 times a year. Plus, there's the weekday and weekend sales.

The big ones are the summer and winter sales (winter starting soon, probably the 21st); they have smaller spring and autumn sales. And there's a constant stream of smaller sales - individual titles or some publishers putting their whole collection on sale.

I add everything I'm interested in to my wishlist, and I get notified when it goes on sale. I usually have a price in mind: I'll buy this game when it hits 50% off, this one at 70%, this other one, I'm waiting for a 90% discount. (I've decided I'll probably pick up No Man's Sky when it drops below $15.) And when the major sales hit, I throw between $15 and $40 at Steam, collect a swarm of games and a bunch of Summer/Winter Sale Cards for leveling up my Summer/Winter Sale Badge. (Daughter is deeply disappointed that I do the Steam gamification-of-sales thing.)

I also have Humble Bundle and GOG accounts, and watch for sales there. Those both have features that Steam doesn't: HB carries books (which is how I got into it; I didn't touch the game side for years), and GOG has older games that nobody else carries. Unless Epic's platform has more new features, I'm not going to bother, and at this point, "new game only on this one platform" isn't likely to be useful to me; I already have several dozen (...several hundred...) games I'm not playing.
posted by ErisLordFreedom at 4:04 PM on December 15, 2018 [2 favorites]


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