The developers of Borderlands 3 recently announced they would make the popular game on PC an Epic Games Store exclusive. Gearbox stated in a press release that Borderlands 3 will be released Sept. 13 for PC only through Epic, while other digital storefronts will offer it for sale in April 2020.
That's a very long six-month wait for devotees of Valve's Steam store, which, until recently, was pretty much the only location where you could legitimately buy PC games online. However, as Kotaku points out, there is a benefit to switching over the Epic Games: Epic only asks for a 12% cut of revenue, while Steam takes a hefty 30%.
So, it looks like the war is on. Can people vote with their wallets? Is there a way around this situation if you're a long-time user of Steam?
There are definitely arguments for waiting a few months for Borderlands 3's release, though. We all know that first-day releases tend to be buggy anyway, although, of course, it's hard to contain yourself when new content is available. Also, if you wait to buy Borderlands 3 on Steam, you will be making a statement against Epic's business practices and hurt its profits.
Epic is trying to make a run at Steam by undercutting the profit margin, which probably will only end up working if a number of games are released as Epic exclusives, at least for a few months. Steam is a well-known platform that has been in operation for many years, while Epic is less known to casual gamers.
However, there's an even more radical argument, and one that will require a bit more sacrifice on gamers' parts. Why not avoid buying the game altogether? Epic is not seen as a popular storefront among serious gamers, and one can argue that Borderlands' developers are well aware that Borderlands 3 is looking for an Epic exclusive bonus while still raking in sales from the more popular Steam platform down the road. So, if you want to send a message to other developers about using Epic, refusing to buy Borderlands 3 would be an option.
Of course, if you're really eager to play the game, it's hard to choose between the two stores. The Borderlands franchise is justifiably awesome, and we have to remember that there are vast teams of people that worked on the game and likely had no say on how or where Borderlands 3 was sold.
However, some the conversations on Reddit have been very interesting lately. One person pointed to the examples of Fallout 76 and Battleborn, saying in both cases that people refused to buy the two games due to issues (for example, Fallout 76 was criticized for having large download patches and for being a multiplayer game in an originally single-player franchise.) Developers do make changes from time to time, the Redditor argued, especially if bad PR is involved.
Other users pointed to issues that people in North America may not consider. One person in China pointed out that Epic doesn't even work in their country. Though they want to play it on PC with friends, for several months, they will be effectively banned from doing so. The person asked for a reason to support Epic, to which somebody else replied (probably as a joke) that Epic vs. Steam war is healthy competition.
There are also worries that those who buy from Epic and Steam will be separated in multiplayer when they finally both have access to Borderlands 3. Another Redditor pointed out that cross-play between the two platforms is pretty much unprecedented, although perhaps that could change if Gearbox decided to include both players.
So, where does this leave long-time players of Borderlands who want to send a message about Epic? It appears that if you really want to send a message, you will have to forgo your own personal convenience and wait to buy the game later, which means that you won't be able to get your hands on it as quickly as you would hope. You can either find a copy of it for console, wait until it's available used, or find some other legal way to obtain the game in a way that doesn't involve Epic or either platform.
However, if you don't care either way, you can obviously do whatever you wany. Some people will gladly play Borderlands 3 regardless of how it is released, and that's perfectly fine.
Borderlands likely won't be the first franchise to face an Epic vs. Steam controversy, so it's important to be aware that as Epic expands, more of these discussions are likely to come up in the future.
How do you feel about the Epic vs. Steam war? Are you going to wait a few months to buy Borderlands 3? Let us know in the comments to continue the debate.