Epic Games Store will keep signing exclusive deals with developers and publishers regardless of any “previous plans” to sell on Steam.
Backlash is mounting against Epic Games’ predatory practice of sniping upcoming PC games right out from beneath the cozy umbrella of Steam. In a move that’s sure to bring Epic no friends at all, CEO Tim Sweeney confirmed that no matter what the game’s previous plans, Epic will still try to gobble up whatever game it wants and turn it into an exclusive title for the Epic Games Store.
“We've had a lot of discussions about this since GDC," Sweeney said in a recent tweet. "Epic is open to continuing to sign funding/exclusivity deals with willing developers and publishers regardless of their previous plans or announcements around Steam."
This represents a reversal on Epic’s stated position following the release of Metro Exodus, a game that had previously been announced to release on Steam and had even started taking pre-orders there as well. Gamers that had gotten their pre-orders fulfilled on Steam before the move to Epic still had their games fulfilled in a special exemption to Epic’s 1-year exclusive deal, but the abrupt switch was still met with extreme controversy.
When one Twitter user pointed out the Metro Exodus situation and how Epic’s policy of snagging PC exclusives could result in even more controversy, Sweeney was resolute. "This prompted further discussions at Epic," Sweeney replied, "leading to the realization that these calls must be up to developers and publishers, and Epic wouldn't tell them 'no' on account of existing statements made about Steam."
We've had a lot of discussions about this since GDC. Epic is open to continuing to sign funding / exclusivity deals with willing developers and publishers regardless of their previous plans or announcements around Steam.— Tim Sweeney (@TimSweeneyEpic) April 1, 2019
Epic Games is still signing exclusive deals with upcoming PC games. The latest to swap to Epic has been Borderlands 3, which will be an Epic exclusive for 6 months following the wider release on September 13th. PC gamers looking to play on Steam will need to wait until March of 2020 to download their copy, and pre-orders aren’t even being accepted on Steam as a result.
It’s so far hard to tell if this rash of big-name exclusive deals has caused a dent in Steam’s seemingly impenetrable lock on the PC market. There has been no response from Valve and no word on whether Steam will sweeten it’s 30/70 revenue split to be more like Epic’s 12/88 revenue split.