Epic's Tim Sweeney Calls Store Exclusives "Procompetitive"

Discussion in 'HardForum Tech News' started by Megalith, Mar 17, 2019.

  1. Megalith

    Megalith 24-bit/48kHz Staff Member

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    As controversy continues to mount, Tim Sweeney has returned to social media to justify store exclusives and defend the Epic Games Store from accusations it is bribing its way to the top with anti-competitive practices. Sweeney seems to believe the criticism is unfair because there’s nothing stopping Steam and other storefronts from playing his game, pointing out partnerships are a perfectly legit way of doing business. From where he’s standing, exclusives are “procompetitive,” in that they compel other stores to differentiate themselves.

    I get that you guys don’t like store-exclusive games, but that’s a completely separate, and PROCOMPETITIVE issue, compared to closing down platforms like Windows to monopolize distribution, as iOS does, and as Microsoft was trying to do with UWP and locked-down versions of Windows — which failed, and whose proponents are now gone and replaced with great leaders like Satya Nadella and Phil Spencer who are driving Windows forward as an open platform!
     
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  2. alamox

    alamox Gawd

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    BS, Competition provide consumers with more choice, not stripping them of any choice, there is no competition in forcing ppl to your store with 3rd party exclusives, dude make your own games and lock them to your shiety store, did you hear anyone cry about fortnite not being on steam ?
    again this is not competition, this is paying his way to market domination in expense of consumer's choice and experience.
    i just hope valve doesn't step down to tim's level, because if steam did the same as epic, PC gaming will become shiet again.
     
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  3. Evil

    Evil Gawd

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    I really hate Tim Sweeney.
     
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  4. Dekoth-E-

    Dekoth-E- [H]ardness Supreme

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    Get Bent Sweeney. That might be competition from the perspective of "We are trying to quash all other competitors to our platform", but it is not competitive from a consumers standpoint who doesn't care about the platform but the prices.
     
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  5. Disco_Stu_04

    Disco_Stu_04 Limp Gawd

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  6. Twisted Kidney

    Twisted Kidney 2[H]4U

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    From the developer standpoint it certainly is.

    Consumers can fuck right off, though. Entitled bastards they are.
     
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  7. Delicieuxz

    Delicieuxz Gawd

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    And truth-perceiving people call Tim Sweeney a liar, a con-man, a twister of facts, a mental gymnastics artist, a defiler of English and possibly also of the PC games industry, and likely a sociopath.


    'White is black, up is down, bad is good, false is truth' - Tim Sweeney

    What Tim Sweeney is doing is the ultimate manifestation of anti-competition. Other businesses can't compete if they can't compete - and they can't compete when Tim Sweeney is paying to make games exclusive to their platform.


    I really hope that gamers don't support this and shut this practice down before it becomes widespread.
     
    Last edited: Mar 17, 2019
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  8. homernoy

    homernoy Limp Gawd

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    Tim Sweeney is straight up full of shit. Always has been.
     
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  9. Ranulfo

    Ranulfo [H]ard|Gawd

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    Thanks Sweeney for my morning laugh. I mean, maybe with Philly Spence and the Xbone crew having win10/Xbone game sharing is an "open platform" of sorts but even MS is wisely bringing the Halo Master Collection to Steam. I sure as hell wouldn't call Nadella a great leader though given that it sure seems like he wants to take Windows to software as a service.
     
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  10. Liquid_Static

    Liquid_Static Gawd

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    I don't know why everyone is so mad about all of this. Competition is good. Steam is an entrenched platform and (in all honesty) isn't half of what it used to be. Remember how great steam sales used to be? I picked up games years ago that haven't dropped to the same price since (Far Cry, GTA, Skyrim, Crysis etc.). Valve knows they are the default platform and can charge a premium while getting away with it because people like Steam! In fact, Valve did this same thing YEARS ago - you HAD to install steam to play their games. People were mad about it back then too, but it worked out well for us. Let the market play itself out and stop whining. It's not like you don't have the drive space for another game client.
     
  11. Mode13

    Mode13 Gawd

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    It's all about maximizing that revenue stream.

    I'm probably one of the few that doesn't care, as I never wanted to go digital with my games in the first place. Now its just app vs app and steam is by far my favorite with the profiles, trading cards, marketplace, achievements, community and so on. I would honestly probably just have become a pirate if I couldn't get hard copies if not for the fun of being on steam and its overlay with my friends chatting me up.

    Epic looks like it was slapped together in 2 days. As if their market research still doesn't realize steam is number one because its by all means a social network and game launcher equally. I enjoy GOG significantly more then Epic as well, so what's the enticement to choose Epic -- ahh now I see, by forcing our hand with exlcusives ;)
     
    Last edited: Mar 17, 2019
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  12. Krazy925

    Krazy925 2[H]4U

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    People forget how mad we were when we had to install Steam. I held out for longer than most and I can’t even really remember a time before Steam now.

    I won’t be using this game service though. Maybe in 5 years when they have something I really want.

    Although I’ll always hate Gamespy the most.
     
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  13. Delicieuxz

    Delicieuxz Gawd

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    Then what do you struggle to understand about people being angry that Tim Sweeney is being fiercely anti-competitive?
     
  14. homernoy

    homernoy Limp Gawd

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    Purchasing third party titles is anti-consumer, and is in no way a "competitive" way of doing business. If Epic wanted to compete, they would make a superior storefront, and maybe charge less than the other digital stores out there.
     
  15. Bigshrimp

    Bigshrimp Limp Gawd

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    I have a feeling Valve will start making games again (not Artifact of course). Call it a hunch. :p
     
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  16. SamuelL421

    SamuelL421 Limp Gawd

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    For their sakes, I hope Epic / Sweeney have a better backup plan than just the “procompetitive” Epic store for whenever fortnite stops being the cool thing for tweens. If that cash cow disappears, Epic and Tencent will be left holding the bag with a pile of heavily subsidized exclusive games on a half-assed storefront having 50% feature parity with Steam. They may go from Scrooge mcduck money to announcing lay-offs in short order.

    I question if all the Epic store investments have enough traction to pay off at this point assuming Fortnite loses interest in the near future (and cuts the money faucet too soon). Despite all the grandiose talk of being a Steam competitor, I’m pretty sure their entire business still lives and dies at this point with a bunch of middle school kids buying fortnite skins.
     
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  17. dark_reign

    dark_reign 2[H]4U

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    Giving away games is nice, but I see no reason why anyone would buy anything from their store. Steam, GOG and various key sites are still the best places to buy games.
     
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  18. Patton187

    Patton187 Gawd

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    I'm opting out on all these exclusives except for Hades because that horse is out of the barn.
     
  19. PD187

    PD187 n00b

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    I agree the steam sales used to be "great" (great for getting games, bad for my wallet) but I'm wondering how much you paid attention to the games you mentioned after you bought them? I know after I buy games, I generally don't pay attention to the price they are (normal or during a sale). It's a minor quibble but I know Skyrim has been on sale since (don't know at what prices). Most of the time when I pay attention to the price, it's because I was a dumbass and preordered it, only for it to be on sale for 75% in the first month. That's purely on me though.

    I don't think it's as simple as Valve forcing everything to be on Steam, outside of using their DRM for the 3rd party game. I think it was more a "perfect storm" involving the rise of consoles (Xbox/360, PS2/3) and retail shops (Gamestop, Best Buy, Walmart, etc.) devoting more shelf space to consoles. If a place is the defacto exclusive store because of outside events for an entire hobby then it isn't really their "fault." It can't really be argued that it was internet speeds increasing dramatically (at least in the states) but I'm sure that is another factor. I remember when Wolfenstein The New Order came out, it would've taken me 2 weeks to download it at home and that was in 2014 (it's so much better now for me).


    I feel that isn't what's going on here. Buying 3rd party exclusives is not really competitive. If it's exclusive to one place then who are you really competing against? It's different if it's a self-made exclusive (Half-life, CS, TF2; any EA game being exclusive to Origin; etc.). You throw in all the other "scandals" (however dubious they might actually be) and I know that I won't be using EGS. I'm actually going to try to look at GOG more often if what I want isn't on Steam. I do feel that I'm on the back end of gaming. I don't have much time for it anymore and now I've amassed a huge collection of games that I might not actually ever play.
     
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  20. velusip

    velusip [H]ard|Gawd

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    It doesn't matter how hard you rationalize your actions -- when you are trying to establish yourself in a middleman position we all know there are easy ways to abuse the role. A distributor wields enormous power in commerce and effectively gates the industry. Calling resource gating "procompetitive" (or whatever) is true, but is not a positive, industry reinforcing tactic. It's literally the opposite; it's stifling and merely redirects limited demand rather than promoting new demand.

    This guy needs to stop talking. Sure, he drank the kool aid and knows his marketing jargon, but that's not what you talk about publicly in your defense. It's not good for the industry, but it is good to establish your position of power.
     
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  21. Liquid_Static

    Liquid_Static Gawd

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    What are you talking about? This is how competition works. Companies are allowed to do whatever they want inside of a truly free and competitive market to gain marketshare, including *gasp* purchasing timed exclusivity to a title. If you don't like it - don't buy it. The fact is Epic purchasing rights to popular titles means people will actually give their store a shot.


    You're missing the point and insinuating that companies cannot engage in "anti-consumer" practices while remaining "competitive". This is how capitalism works, if the market decides it won't tolerate timed exclusivity of game titles Epic is going to stop buying rights to them. "New games" aren't in limited supply like water or rare earth metals - buying exclusive rights to a single game doesn't stop anyone else from selling other games.

    Epic can't compete against an established store like Steam without compelling additions (and a small price cut won't do it). Humans are creatures of habit and won't move to another platform for a 10% savings. Exclusive games is the only shot they have at getting people to adopt their platform, just ask Sony, Microsoft, or Nintendo. Again, this is how a free market is SUPPOSED to work. If people don't like it they won't buy it - they'll simply play another game on another platform while Epic loses money on their investment.


    I actually check quite regularly. Luckily, there are websites that keep logs of this. Throw in some past AAA titles - the data you see will back up what I'm saying.
    Take Skyrim for example - https://steamdb.info/app/72850/ - the lowest price it ever sold for was $4.99 and it hasn't sold for that price since February of 2016, more than 3 years ago.
    GTA IV follows the same pattern - https://steamdb.info/app/12210/
    Fallout 3's lowest price was in 2014 - https://steamdb.info/app/22370/
    Max Payne 3, lowest price in 2016 - https://steamdb.info/app/204100/
    Black Ops 2, lowest price 2016 - https://steamdb.info/app/202970/

    Obviously there are exceptions but this definitely seems to be the trend.
     
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  22. Fasda

    Fasda n00b

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    Silly Tim Sweeney, regurgitating Ajit Pai & friends favorite rhetoric is the antithesis of both pro-consumer and pro competitiveness.
     
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  23. homernoy

    homernoy Limp Gawd

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    You're spending a lot of effort defending a company that's basically force feeding you options on third party games. And capitalism works in many ways, and without regulation we'd still have child labor. Just because a company does something that's technically legal that doesn't make it right, let alone worth defending.
     
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  24. Liquid_Static

    Liquid_Static Gawd

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    Thank you for equating video game exclusivity and child labor.

    And no one is "force-feeding" you anything. No one is making you buy these games. The publishers of the games in question CHOSE to sell the rights to Epic.

    And gosh, I really hope no one thinks this is illegal - it's not. It's not even "technically legal", its bog-standard business practice. I'm defending the practice because it is good for all of us as PC gamers. Having a a bunch of stores under 5% marketshare and steam at 80+% isn't good for consumers OR developers.
     
    Last edited: Mar 17, 2019
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  25. homernoy

    homernoy Limp Gawd

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    You're welcome.
     
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  26. PD187

    PD187 n00b

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    Fair enough. Though with them all being 3rd party games, the publishers control the pricing and whether or not they'll take part in a sale. I know Call of Duty is always priced too high, even the original two are $20 each still and the first one came out in 2003 (on Steam since 2007).

    I forget how I came to have Max Payne 3 but I know that's the only one out of this list that I have (never had any real interest in Bethesda games, lost interest in Call of Duty after 4, gave up on GTA).
     
  27. x3sphere

    x3sphere 2[H]4U

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    But Valve doesn't set the prices, the publishers do.

    Regarding Steam pricing though, there are sites like GMG where you can still get pretty good deals. Since Valve doesn't seem to have much restrictions in how publishers distribute Steam keys, you can often find good deals outside of Steam.

    Take Metro Exodus for example - since they went Epic only, it isn't even listed on GMG. I only see it on some shady CD key sites and it's actually priced more than what I usually pay on GMG for new releases. So the decision to go Epic only certainly hasn't improved pricing for the consumer from what I can see. I'm all for competition, but I don't see how consumers are benefiting from this deal so far...
     
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  28. Flogger23m

    Flogger23m [H]ardForum Junkie

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    He is right. It is competitive for the platforms and the developers, which are the main customers for Valve/Epic. You offer a developer a better deal that is being competitive. The draw to Steam wasn't user convenience but rather that developers could save money. Same deal here. Game buyers go to where the games are and if Epic manages to grab popular games by offering developers a better deal then that is them being competitive.

    Valve is now starting to make actual improvements like combat review bombing after Epic announced they're going to add reviews but look for ways to mitigate it. Same thing happened with Origin when it was new. Valve was very quick to add a few useful features and since then have largely not lifted a finger to improve Steam once they realized EA had low expectations for Origin. For whatever reason EA quickly threw in the towel for Origin although at first they were doing an okay job grabbing 3rd party games. As such Valve stopped giving a damn.

    If Epic forces Valve to make some good improvements to Steam and maybe puts out a good game that isn't another TF2/Fortnite clone I'd be happy.

    As for sites like GMG that does suck, but we all knew it would happen sooner or later. I am amazed the big publishers still bother selling to 3rd party sites. Probably has to due with the historical "regional pricing" issues that Steam had which are now irrelevant due to improvements on Steam and even Epic Games Store. And now that Steam is available in the PRC and most other countries I assume there is little need for a middle man.
     
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  29. Delicieuxz

    Delicieuxz Gawd

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    That's competition of publisher profits, not of service and price. You're placing the meaningfulness of "competition" in the wrong place, a place where it only produces negative results for the market and consumers.

    Also, that form of behind-the-scenes "competition" for publishers directly means anti-competition for quality of service and prices, and it means less choice for consumers.

    Tim Sweeney is falsely alleging that he is doing what is good for the PC gaming industry and is bringing more choice. That is a lie. He is doing what is good for him, and is harming consumers in the process and reducing their options to choose from. So, the competition you're defending isn't even the type of competition that Epic is claiming in their PR. And the type of competition you're talking about is a negative one, whereas competition for customers through presentation of service and price is a positive one.

    There is literally 0 incentive for any consumer to support competition of publisher profits at the expense of quality of service and consumer choice.
     
    Last edited: Mar 17, 2019
  30. GoldenTiger

    GoldenTiger [H]ard as it Gets

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    This. The whiners about epic are hysterical.
     
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  31. Disco_Stu_04

    Disco_Stu_04 Limp Gawd

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    After EPIC gets a bigger foothold in the market, I highly doubt they'll be giving devs a better cut of the revenue.

    They're not competing for you. They're competing to eat up publisher deals for their platform only. You won't see any savings if they're all exclusives.
     
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  32. misterbobby

    misterbobby 2[H]4U

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    Too many places and too many games. In some ways I miss the old days of driving to the store and getting a physical game and actually finishing it instead of just adding to my backlog every time I see a good sale....
     
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  33. theBrownLlama

    theBrownLlama Gawd

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    that's is why we sail the high seas.

    no reason for consumers to support scumbag corporate practices
     
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  34. theBrownLlama

    theBrownLlama Gawd

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    since when did we ALL become developers?

    last i checked 99.9999% of us are consumers whom lose out with how EPIC does business.

    shouldn't we all prioritize our positions as consumers first and foremost, rather than praising how this and that company can get more profit for their top management?
     
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  35. odditory

    odditory [H]ardness Supreme

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    This. The people that arent bothering to get informed on the full scope of this scandal and just flippantly posting "You guys just hate it cuz its not Steam" would be the first ones complaining "hey where did all the cheap steam key sites go" in a world where Epic was as big as Steam, and had walled those sites off to keep prices fixed at $59.99 - which publishers would love.

    And do people really think that with Epic's shady business practices, they wouldn't raise the store fee once they gained traction? "This was unavoidable due to increased CDN and operating costs". They have no honor.

    The casual observers defending Epic's bullshit are helping the wolf into the henhouse.
     
    Last edited: Mar 18, 2019
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  36. ScottSummers79

    ScottSummers79 [H]Lite

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    I mean, he's wrong, but I guess it's his prerogative to be wrong, he does have the money for it.

    That said, until they stop exclusives, then I won't have anything more than games I don't explicitly give them money for in my Epic game store. "Free" games from a bundle with PC hardware, sure, the "free" game they're paying for to try and increase their footprint, sure (though so far I haven't installed any of those) - but I won't add payment details until exclusives are gone.
     
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  37. trandoanhung1991

    trandoanhung1991 [H]ard|Gawd

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    Apparently the cash trucks they give out are so much that even when a crowdfunded game lose all preorders/backers they'd still be in the black. Let's see how long Epic can continue to launder their Fortnite cash.
     
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  38. sharknice

    sharknice [H]ard|Gawd

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    If Epic doesn't do exclusive deals their store would be ignored and never get big, just like every other Steam competitor.

    If you can't see how that's bad for you you've got a lot of growing up to do.

    x -> y -> z

    That extra z step is one step too many for a lot of your brains. So you cry like a baby about having to click a different icon.

    The Epic Store has already improved the market for gamers. It's forced Steam to give developers a larger share of the profit which means they can devote more resources to development.

    It's hard not to think of people against the store as idiots or assholes.
     
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  39. NickJames

    NickJames [H]ardness Supreme

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    Valve has made improvements to Steam constantly for decades, they never stopped. They revamped the review system a couple of years ago to help fight review bombing. They redesigned the Friends system probably a good 3 or 4 times. The shop is constantly going through improvements (for better or worse) and they always add great quality of life improvements for publishers. Competition is good but people blindly defend Steam for a reason, every other digital distribution platform has been an awful pile of shit with the exception of GOG Galaxy. If Epic really cared to make a competitor they would would put the money, time and effort into making the Epic Launcher a platform people want to use not force them into it. I'll even throw a bone at Uplay because they up until Division 2 were at least still releasing their titles on other platforms.
     
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  40. Auer

    Auer Gawd

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    Insulting people is the best way to get your point across.

    Especially when you're wrong.