Following the Metro Exodus debacle, Borderlands 3 just had to go and make things worse with their own Epic Games Store exclusivity. It was an unnecessary move that merely highlights the money-hungry reality that plagues triple-A gaming publishers like Deep Silver and 2K. Though it's realistically always been about the profits as opposed to the fans, now so more than ever it has become the driving nature for most game production.
Now ruling the PC gamer space, Epic Games Store evokes renditions of greedy practices and shady deals similar to its gaming publisher counterparts. Though the store is a haven for indie developers, who often lack outward funding, many of its most recent moves point to a negative trend in the industry. Poaching titles from Steam isn't the best of practices, especially when such an immense amount of backlash is received from fans far and wide. The publisher of Metro Exodus says we should embrace Epic, but on the contrary, it has elicited nothing more than angst within the community. While it may be a saving grace for lesser-known devs, the reality is that Epic cares more about its own acclaim rather than that of the various games in its inventory.
Epic, of course, isn't the only one to blame. It's not like 2K, or even Take-Two Interactive, need that extra boost in profits. They're heavy hitters in the industry, what with Grand Theft Auto V still going strong and Red Dead Online reaching an all-new high with its most recent update. That's along with their other titles, like NBA and WWE 2K, raking in cash by the boatloads due to their microtransaction-laden gameplay. How can the indie developers, who need Epic's revenue split, fare against the likes of the juggernaut that is Take-Two?
Simply put, they can't.
(I’ve been asked a lot about it today. To add more color: Our friends at Epic are great people who care about the health of our industry and the value of creators big and small. Their leadership on this front is welcome and due.)— Randy Pitchford (@DuvalMagic) December 5, 2018
With Gearbox already neck deep in hot water, as witnessed by the viral #BoycottBorderlands3 on Twitter in the aftermath of SupMatto's YouTube disgrace, as well as anything Randy Pitchford says or does, BL3 has suffered tremendously. And, it can't be rectified if there's only one place for PC gamers to play the game. What about the fans who solely use Steam? They've been completely extricated from the player base unless, of course, they move on over to Epic. Without having the game on Steam, 2K has effectively disregarded an entire portion of players merely for a higher profit margin. It could have been so much bigger, but instead, Randy Pitchford and co. decided that Epic had their best interests in mind.
In the end, did it even work in their favor? Despite the fact that Epic is corrupting BL3 saves, it's still a brand new powerhouse in the industry. It still is a massive game, so there's very little surprise in the fact that even without Steam, sales are still going strong. Pitchford himself relayed on Twitter that the BL3 launch player base on PC was twice as large as its predecessor. That's nothing to scoff at. Similarly, by about 2.5, Metro Exodus likewise beat out its own predecessor on Steam. So, money does talk, it seems, but can it be everlasting?
Fun Fact: On PC, the data is that the launch day peak concurrent players of Borderlands 3 is about *twice-as-high* as the all time peak concurrent players of Borderlands 2. WOW! You guys are great!— Randy Pitchford (@DuvalMagic) September 13, 2019
As Dave Thier explains in his article on Forbes:
"So whatever your opinions are on the Epic Games Store--or on Epic Games writ large--it's clear that a lot of the sound and fury against the storefront is not translating into lost sales. If anything, things are performing better on Epic, which would make sense considering the smaller library and better promotion next to Steam's increasing discoverability issues."
There's a variety of concerns that can be attributed to Epic. The fact that it's yet another storefront PC gamers must consider, alongside even newer additions like Rockstar Games Launcher and Bethesda Games Store, the PC gaming sphere is just a convoluted mess of a world that will only continue to grow. Due to the fact that Epic does have an ample amount of possibilities for newer developers, it does have potential, yet is still shrouded in shady and greedy practices that seem to prey upon gamers most of all. Though it may not have affected sales of the series outright, one can be sure it will damper the overall acclaim of Borderlands well into the future.
PC Vault Hunting just isn't the same without Steam.