STEAM VS. EPIC GAMES

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kory_toombs
I won the RMN 2019 Stanley Cup Playoff Pool. Now I will never stop bragging about it.
12624

For years upon end Steam has dominated the PC gaming market for digital sales of games. (Yes, there is Uplay and Origin and some others, but Steam has practically dominated this market.)

Epic Games, the makers of Fortnite, have made their own store page, and have brought console like battle practices to the PC. First, offering a 12 - 88 split to developers over Steam's 30 - 70. Secondly, paying out millions of dollars for timed exclusives of games. (Including, The Division 2, Metro: Exodus, Outerworlds, and more coming.) Thirdly, allowing you to get free games every 2 weeks approximately.

Steam still offers more in terms of services to users, with things like forums, and reviews, and achievements, and.... But as time goes on I wonder if Steam should begin to get worried. Epic Games isn't going anywhere, and they're being very aggressive.

Do you hat Epic Games for their business practices?
Do you think Steam needs to shape up?
What are your thoughts on this?

Many YouTube creators have talked about this, but this video is pretty good on the topic:





I think Epic is playing a really weird game of nabbing exclusivity and forcing that into the market. It's not to say consoles don't do that either. But it's just going to be a mess juggling different launchers and having separate libraries for everything. Competition is good I guess? But I'm hoping one day indie developers for instance can actually be independent than rely on any which platform that has pros and cons and split userbases.

At least with Steam the process was pretty natural, they solved a problem by providing a service PC just didn't have especially back when most games were in boxes. They even arguably replaced the need for pirating games since its just as easy to download via your Steam account anywhere. With Epic Game it's just like, ok what about the service is actually convenient so far? A lot of the features are still in the making and so far the only thing they got on the table is incentivizing (bribing) devs, and free games (bribing players). It's going to be an uphill battle even if they got all the monies on their side, (and an untapped FortNite audience).

That said Steam has a lot of problems (the "algorithm", the stupid floodgate policy/non-policy, review bombing, lack of real support) that are hard to tell if Epic will even address yet.
kory_toombs
I won the RMN 2019 Stanley Cup Playoff Pool. Now I will never stop bragging about it.
12624

I think it would be less controversial had Epic just offered huge discounts or made their own games, then made the games they developed exclusive. Some of these devs had already said their games would release on Steam, then POW = Money = Epic Games Store Exclusive.
I mean it's slowly going back to how it was before Steam. Except of course that digital downloads were a far smaller thing before Steam. But on one hand it's nice that steam's hegemony is being broken up. On the other hand it means more launchers and more accounts again.

I already have five launchers. (Battle.net, GOG Galaxy, Origin, UPlay, Steam) And there's probably more to come.

Steam has turned a bit to shit recently. With opening the floodgates to any garbage by anyone. It's harder to find anything worthwhile on Steam without exactly knowing what you're looking for. So it's not exactly the worst thing that the page where I find out about *neat game* is a link to some other store instead.

But it was also nice to have all the games in one place :)
Red_Nova
The all around prick
7471
I don't expect Epic to continue gorging themselves on exclusivity deals for long. This is likely just a short term plan to make sure they come out of the gate swinging as hard as they can. It'll have to taper off eventually.

Do you think Steam needs to shape up?

Man, Steam has needed to shape up before a storefront was even a glint in Epic's eye. There was a time where putting something on Steam was a badge of honor on any developer's record, be they commercial or hobbyist. That time had passed long before even Steam Direct was put into practice.


I say nuts to both of them and move over to itch.io for indie games.
Cap_H
DIGITAL IDENTITY CRISIS
6288
We ignore one important thing. Steam has many exclusives simple because there wasn't any competition for years. There are many games you can't get any other way. You can buy many games on alternative stores, but if you check, you still get steam drm for most. And I think that Epic might help to change that. Making more major releases unavailable on Steam, should make enough people realize how is steam manipulating their lives.
So, I see the change in waters as positive. I think it might make the whole scene more healthy and consumers thinking more about their actions. I think Steam was well aware of their unsustainable position and it could be one of the reasons why they were trying to expand beyond games.
Having two games on Steam now, I can safely say that this algorithm change was, well, devastating. Without saying exact numbers, the difference I've seen between releasing a game released in 2017 and one released in 2019 has been massive.

author=Red_Nova
I say nuts to both of them and move over to itch.io for indie games.

I do want to point out that "Just go to itchio" isn't a perfect solution either, as having a completely open platform with few barriers to entry means that you're casting your bottle into a very crowded sea. The last game I released on Steam was also cross-released on itchio, but accounted for less than 5% of copies purchased. And from what I hear from other cross-release devs, this isn't far off from the par in a lot of cases.
unity
You're magical to me.
11129
Yeah, I've been very unhappy with Steam (even tho I don't even put games on there (yet?)) ever since they tweaked the algorithm to favor bigger devs over smaller ones. (Here's one of many twitter threads about smaller devs getting shafted by the algorithm in case anyone is interested)

Add to that their unwillingness to to curate anything unless it gives them major bad press, not to mention a plethora of other issues (allowing games that don't even run correctly, allowing "asset flips" (where someone purchases assets and uploads pre-made demos that come with the assets as a full game without adding anything of their own), allowing people who have openly stolen other people's work to continue selling, all the things Darken mentioned, and the list goes on and on) and Steam is kinda a garbage dump right now.

Maybe Epic will provide enough competition to Steam to make things better? Like, I know why people don't like it, and being told you need yet another program to run games is an annoyance, especially if devs have told you that you could get it on Steam before Epic paid them the big bucks to go exclusive. But still a shakeup might be good for things overall. Too soon to really tell now, of course, but I can hope!
pianotm
The TM is for Turtle Motivator
21412
Yeah, I'm definitely not on the side of major devs suddenly backing out of a promise and going to Epic exclusive, especially in that one case where they built their game entirely off of their Indiegogo...Phoenix Rising, I think...and then said they'd just refund everyone who supported them because they really didn't need them anymore. On the other hand, Epic's just doing business, and Steam really is an organization that doesn't deserve the support it gets. We are literally chattel to Steam. From the sounds of it, Epic is at least trying to be an awesome company to do business with.
kory_toombs
I won the RMN 2019 Stanley Cup Playoff Pool. Now I will never stop bragging about it.
12624

author=Red_Nova
I say nuts to both of them and move over to itch.io for indie games.

itch.io doesn't equate to Steam, it's not even close. My game sales on Steam are at least 10 time larger, if not more.
I personally avoid third party launchers whenever possible. I always try to buy from GOG or the developer's site before steam, I've uninstalled all my ubisoft games because I'm totally sick of having to re-login to UPlay, and I absolutely, positively, REFUSE to touch anything that uses Origin. Even when I find something on Steam I really like (that's not DRM free anyway) I have to ask myself, "Do I actually want to play this?" From what I've heard, Epic is always-online right now and that's definitely a no-go for me.
Red_Nova
The all around prick
7471
Saying nuts to both Steam and Epic was more from the perspective of a player rather than a developer. If we're talking from the perspective of a developer, then I wouldn't say nuts to both of them; I'd say go with both of them... ALONGSIDE itch.io.

author=kory_toombs
itch.io doesn't equate to Steam, it's not even close. My game sales on Steam are at least 10 time larger, if not more.


author=sgt
I do want to point out that "Just go to itchio" isn't a perfect solution either, as having a completely open platform with few barriers to entry means that you're casting your bottle into a very crowded sea. The last game I released on Steam was also cross-released on itchio, but accounted for less than 5% of copies purchased. And from what I hear from other cross-release devs, this isn't far off from the par in a lot of cases.


I don't doubt it. Despite Valve's seemingly ardent commitment to making as many bad decisions as it possibly can, they are still the biggest distribution platform today.

But what about next year? Or the year after that? Or five years from now? A shakeup IS going to happen at some point down the line, and Steam may not be at the top when the dust settles. If you've established yourself on Steam and ONLY Steam, then you will go down with the ship.

The market and its competitors will keep changing until the nuclear apocalypse, so the idea of a "perfect" solution will always remain just that: an idea. No one knows what will happen in the future, so it's important to think of competing storefronts not like an "Option VS. Option" scenario, but more like an "Option AND Option AND..." scenario.

TL;DR: Don't put all your eggs in one basket.
kentona
only 90s kids will like this admin
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*puts all of his eggs in one basket*

"Oh boy! Look how many chickens I have!"
slash
I didn't want to wake up 40 years old and working a job that I hate.
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Anyone fighting to lower the 30% cut is good in my book - nothing Steam provides has justified that cut for ages. It can only get away with 30% because of its massive userbase.

The game marketplace has changed over the last 10 years. Indie games have gotten more polish and there's more of them, curation tools are non-existent at best, and games press is noticeably less effective at generating sales. Even streamers aren't a good way to market anymore, as most streamers have vastly narrowed their focus to a few core games.

So, simply putting your game on Steam doesn't mean much anymore - it's easy to do, but it won't get you any sales on its own. You need a marketing campaign and new ways to reach potential fans. With that in mind, Steam doesn't justify its price point, as they provide no innate marketing - they're just host and sell. Any store you can get fans to buy from is a win, and I hope to see more competition for Steam and see their cut drop in upcoming years. Them maintaining a near-monopoly won't be good for developers or players.
UPRC
Exciting, but ultimately pointless.
5316
Epic recently bought Psyonix, the makers of Rocket League, and it sounds like it will be removed from Steam later this year. Existing Steam players will still receive updates, it just won't be purchasable any longer. Jim Sterling did an interesting video on this: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jf1CC5D4CAQ
kory_toombs
I won the RMN 2019 Stanley Cup Playoff Pool. Now I will never stop bragging about it.
12624

Epic CEO promised he would stop doing this if Steam dropper their percentage. Not that I would believe what the CEO of another company promised. This fight is getting really crazy on Epic's side. Valve hasn't really responded. Maybe their attitue is that Epic will eventually blow out of steam... :)
Hasn't there been a huge debate about Epic's privacy policies? Digging for data without explicit permission (steam data, for one)? That makes me more wary of them rather than anything else.
I'd rather skip. I have a steam library, with a handful of games I wanna play. I'm good. Competition is good, but yeah, there;s many vids on this. I have a console. I like my console chill games. I just have a few games for multiplayer purposes.

The fact they compete with exclusivity and throw TONS of money at it before even the most basic of features are implemented just shows what their goal is. Grab that position, force themselves into the market. Offering a better service? Eh... we have GOG for that. (really though, missing a frigging shopping cart? Who thought that was a good idea?)
We all know Valve doesn't give two cents about things, but I am not getting my hopes up for Epic. Yes, it's good for the devs. For now.
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