With the Epic Games Store grabbing up so many exclusives despite its very flawed platform, many gamers feel that developers are selling them out for a nice profit. Now, thanks to a mouthy community manager, we have an idea of exactly how nice that profit is. More than $2 million dollars for a measly year of exclusivity.
Phoenix Point was an indie game with a promising pedigree. The words "turn-based strategy" and "from the creator of the original X-COM series" were all fans needed to hear to donate $765,948 to the game's crowdfunding campaign on Fig. But it didn't stop there, points out Reddit user Revisor007, as the game then secured over $1.2 million in pre-orders after the campaign ended.
Despite having somewhere between $2-$2.5 million in revenue before even launching, Phoenix Point developer Snapshot Games recently decided to enter a one-year exclusivity deal with the Epic Games Store.
This deal is different from other high-profile Epic exclusivity deals, such as Metro Exodus where Steam pre-orders were still honored. You have to go through Epic to play Phoenix Point for the first year. The move was not received well by backers, who want to play the game on the platform of their choice. Many are also just wary of the Epic Store's security issues and general lack of customer-friendly practices.
Snapshot Games' community manager took to Discord to address fan concerns, and in the process shedded some light on just how much Epic pays for exclusivity.
"If we had to refund 100% of currently pre-orders, we'd still be in the black," they say. "In the black" is a retail term meaning one turns a profit. So doing the math, Epic has promised Snapshot Games well over $2 million to be exclusive.
The community manager went on to clarify the terms of the deal, saying that Epic's promise didn't come in the form of a single paycheck. Instead it was "for a minimum guarantee - which means Epic will guarantee that we will sell X number of copies. Even if we don't hit that number, they still pay us."
That still leaves the issue of the fans who funded the game when it was still just an idea. Are millions of dollars and guaranteed sales tempting enough to cause a developer to deliberately anger their earliest supporters? Apparently, yes.
"We knew there would be upset, anger and outrage," the community manager wrote. "We knew there would be refunds. This was all factored into our decision. Still a lot with a minimum guarantee. Enough to keep the studio running for years to come - and that was the point of this. It significantly reduces our risk on launch and means we can continue to provide content and updates."
But the real kicker to all of this? Epic didn't even make the first move. Snapshot was the one to approach Epic.