Epic Games has been generously giving away a game once per week since its Epic Summer Sale began, and has now stated that it will continue doing so for the rest of the year. Previously, Epic was giving away a game every two weeks before the start of the sale.
The move is the next in a long line of moves over the past few months that seem to put Epic Games directly at odds with Valve’s Steam platform as the centralized giant where people can purchase and play their games. Love or hate how Epic Games is tapping certain titles to be exclusive to its platform alone, there is no denying that its actions are spurring competition with moves that seem to benefit the consumer in a number of ways.
What must it be costing Epic Games to subsidize these free games given to every user from now until 2020? It will be another twenty-seven titles from now until then. Whatever the cost is, Epic Games must consider it an investment to lure players over and make it the platform of choice. Steam, GoG, Uplay, Origin, and all the other launchers for PC should take note, as Epic Games looks to bleed users over to its side, one free game at a time.
Or, perhaps the tipping point is the Summer Sale itself, which is giving consumers a $10 discount off any title that costs $14.99 and up. This has allowed players to experience the recently ported Journey for the low cost of only $4.99, alongside its free games.
The point is that Epic Games is doing everything it can to not only be a major player alongside Steam, but it also looks to dethrone its competitor and smash it into oblivion.
Alright, that might be an exaggeration, but Epic Games has no qualms about calling Steam out on their own tactics. When players become upset to learn that a title long held on Steam is going to be an Epic Games exclusive, Epic Games has fired back, declaring that it would stop engaging in any exclusive deals if Steam agrees to an 88% revenue share with developers. This has not been addressed, so Epic Games continues to scoop up popular franchises.
Microsoft has also jumped into the fray, saying that its games will be available on Steam to provide players with a “choice” about where they play games. This is contradictory to their own statement. If they wanted to provide players with real “choice,” they would not privilege Steam with their titles, and they would allow Epic Games to sell them as well.
Microsoft, meanwhile, is working on its own massive streaming service called Project xCloud, which in all likelihood is going to be an unkillable giant in the future. Will they still be friendly to Steam then? Unlikely.
For now, Epic Games continues upping the stakes, now with a free game per week, discounted titles, and outstanding exclusive games coming to its platform. If Steam and Microsoft really want to do something about them, they must do better by their consumers who hold the cards with their buying power, but it needs to be earned.