Steam introduces feature to combat Borderlands review bombings, Gearbox CEO responds to situation

sharknice

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Nothing but strawmen in this thread as substitute for having an argument.

And still not a single example of anything EGS brings to the table that is of ANY benefit to the consumer, or how Epic desperately trying to steal every new game coming out (before Fortnite turns into a pumpkin) makes anything better for gamers. None. I'm tossing cards into a hat.

I hope the publishers have early exit clauses in their pact with Epic, or they're in for some pain and devaluation of their IP.

I literally was pointing out your strawman arguments and just pointed out they're giving away $20 games for free. Or is getting stuff for free bad?

I guess your rage glasses filter all that out.:cool: Maybe your computer is doing it and that's why you removed it from the quote. Lmao

Or is me pointing out your strawman arguments a strawman argument? But that would make you pointing out my "strawman" arguments a strawman argument. Lmao
 

GoodBoy

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You ignored what he said.

If they sell the game in both stores, $53 in Epic store, $60 on Steam, at the same time, they make the same profit regardless of where it is sold. It does not NEED to be forced into one store... they can charge the difference in profit upfront, make the consumer pay that.

I can assure you that if it was for sale in multiple stores vs 1, it will sell more and make more profit. <- Completely Logical.

Actually no. The logic is false for a variety of reasons. Remember a business is out to make as much money as possible. Not just some money, all of the money. Businesses do not leave money on the table, any C-suite member that suggest such will be fired by the board for incompetence and replaced with someone the investors trust to make them all the money.

Given the industry standard price is 60$, any reduction in fees to that is just additional profit. Thus a business would not change the price it would pocket the additional revenue.

You completely missed the example. They can charge $60 on epic then, and $67 on steam. Their profit is then the same no matter where it is sold. And a larger marketbase is going to equal more sales. This would have be the smart thing for Gearbox to do.

...Epic wants the business from Valve... How to do that? Easy, don't give the customer a choice...

Exactly. Epic is trying to compete with Valve. They charge a smaller cut of the selling price for games on their platform. This is all well and good. The issue is that Gearbox agreed to be exclusive, so now Epic has convinced Gearbox to do something that is Gearbox vs Customer. That is great for Epic, but it's shit for the consumer, and reflects poorly on Gearbox. THIS is the core of our discontent. And time will tell if it was a shit move on Gearboxs' part.

They could have put it on Steam for $67 or whatever price makes Gearboxs' per sale profit from Steam, identical to the per sale profit from those sold on Epic.

This is just Gearbox being greedy imho. Of course they are in the business to make money. A lot of you in this thread seem to have "Steam hate" because they charge a larger cut of the game sale vs Epic. What about when games were physical? How much % of the games' cost do you think that was?? Gearbox is making MORE per sale, even on steam with the 20 or 30% or whatever cut it is, because physical distribution was waaay more expensive. So do I feel sorry for Gearbox when they pay Steam a 20% cut of a game sale? Hell no I don't.

The publishers business model states that whatever revenue is lost by being a timed exclusive to EGS is vastly offset by the lower costs of doing business, thus ending up with more profit in the end.

That may be what they want to accomplish, but I do not believe that is what they will actually achieve. Once it is no longer exclusive to Epic, they will see this for themselves, and it will prove this a failed experiment.

...- Game developers aren't dependant on entitled PC gamers. They can shift their focus towards console markets if it becomes too tricky from their point of view to sustain PC game development...

Lol.. the pc market is bigger than the console market, they'd be really stupid to do that, especially since their experience is with PC games. "Oh hey, they got upset with us.. let's just go play in this smaller sandbox..."

as the console market is much more "anti-consumer" with a more locked market and less choices (thinking especially in the digital publishing domain). If you besides the complex nature of trying to satisfy the more free market of PC gaming with all the review bombings and kiddies screaming I want, ice cream with strawberries, another wants strawberries with banana and maybe a 3rd wants cherries added on top as well. If that's not enough then add the rising costs of PC gaming hardware, all this are things that have a negative impact on PC gaming market adoption, if you further add all these recent twists with the PC gamer community to that as they more publicly oppose publisher decisions, it's surely not making matters easier to argue why to focus into the market in comparison to console gaming market.

No one likes console exclusives either... that grew out of how successful Nintendo was with games like Super Mario. They created their OWN games, of course those would run only on their own hardware. Appears the same but it isn't the same as a digital distribution platform "exclusive". Halo is too complex to be playable on Nintendo... it would have to be so hampered graphically that it would look like shit and no one would want it like that. Wasted effort. Console Exclusive != PC platform exclusive.. not even close. Whatever point you thought you were making... you didn't.

....Steam monopoly that it's clear multiple publishers want to try challenge....

The other platforms can challenge all they want. They already do. Nothing wrong with that. What's bullshit is they got a game-dev to join that fight. The game-dev's can go back to Physical sales and making half what they make on Steam. Seems they have a really short memory to me, and are taking for granted how good things for them are now. So if Gearbox is really this "discontent" with Steam, all they've really done is make their consumer pay for it. That's a shitty attitude. They need us more than we need them...

It's true it's not pro consumer and why should the consumers have to care about how much money the devs & publishers make but the reality is that the developers will always strive for the best margins and can always shift to console game development if that's necessary which begs the question, would you rather have a locked pc game market than no market at all? I'm afraid if the situation gets worse, we'll see more developers making the shift away from PC gaming so while it's fair to stand up for consumer rights and all that, it also makes damage to the PC gaming market in the long term as I don't see it happening that the publishers will cave in to the yelling kid mentality as long as there's alternative markets they can shift their focus to. I don't like the situation more than any other but I'm being realistic here as we don't have any strong enough pro-consumer laws to protect the current case from happening and I think worsening the bond between developers & publishers and PC gamers is leading to a desctructive path going forward.

You are going to have to show me this supposed 'shift' away from PC gaming...

How much did Pub-G make in a year?

How much does Fortnite make a month?

How much is Apex Legends making?

Now tell me the same amounts for whatever the BESTEST EVER console game you know of is making.

This will plainly show where the profit is. It's moving TO pc (games), not away from it.

As far as how it comes across (the review bombing).. granted it can look childish. But I daresay it has an impact. Obviously not everyone cares all that much one way or the other, but some do. I don't think it is all that smart to alienate part of the most lucrative gaming market the planet has ever known... that makes more money per year than Hollywood does... How much has Captain Marvel made? $760 million? Probably on track for 1 billion. How much has Fortnite made? $2.5 Billion (just in 2018)

THIS is where the money is.
 
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RanceJustice

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All I meant by the capitalism comment was that it's their game and they can do with it what they want.

I don't disagree with any of your stated arguments. Obviously Epic has the cash to bribe these developers/publishers and they felt it was worth it. Hopefully the market will punish them for it if everything you spelled out rings true.

But what must stay in focus is that this is a game no one is being forced to buy or play, so a bunch of people taking the time to review bomb just seems entitled or at the very least childish.

Better to vote with your wallet imo, since that is the loudest voice of all

Indeed, it is their game and they can make whatever decisions they wish. In an idealized hypothetical market, users could simply chastise them by closing their wallets at which point the company would realize "wow, we made a mistake and our customers are leaving", reversing or at least revising course. Unfortunately in reality the situation is so dramatically stacked against player/customer interests already and Epic's behavior (3rd party exclusivity deals) tosses yet another huge rock on their end of the see-saw which is already driven deep into the earth. Just with a rough idea of how much money Epic is paying to bribe others into exclusivity, it would take hundreds of thousands of players (perhaps even millions) to engage in a boycott just to equal whatever lump of cash they're being offered!

Even if such a thing happened AND was sufficient to cause significant projected fiscal harm, this is an industry that routinely finds justifications and outright lies to cover for bad behavior/decisions. For instance, when a game does poorly its never because "we made a crappy, rushed, money grubbing product" or "We insisted on cramming it full of DRM", no its always "Evil pirates, or those people wouldn't have ever bought the game any way, or not out target market, orwe can do without them, or dry PR speak about misjudging release windows etc" and other such drek, intentionally missing the point even when there are coordinated objection campaigns like the one we're seeing here saying quite clearly "We didn't buy it because you did customer unfriendly shit, you shits". So even at that it is not like they'll take responsibility in good faith.

Not to mention that in general as we've seen in gaming generally customer hostile exploitative business practices have an extremely low bar to be justified in terms of profit. Take for instance something like "microtransactions" , selling a $5 or $25 item somewhere even within your title Some people will protest, it is absolutely against the principle of the thing in some cases and many will refuse to buy. However, the amount of man-hours and resources going into that item will almost certainly be quite small and easy to recoup, so it only takes a handful of purchases in order to appear a short-term (and remember, for many that's all they care about) positive. In order to "beat" such a policy sufficient to enact change there will need to be a massive negative correlated (ie You sell the item and next month you lose half your subscriptions etc) immediate event that even the PR and C-Level types can't spin and misdirect away into something else. This is to say nothing for certain leaders of various game publisher/developer/store companies (especially those discussed here) who, at least via their public communications such as Tweets, show what seem to show an attitude totally disregarding and hostile toward any and all criticism, personally.

In an era where quite a lot of us can "vote with our wallets" and the deck is stacked so far against us, I really can't fault players for using every potential (legal/ethical tactic. We're not talking about threatening bodily harm to family or anything abhorrent etc) tactic that can act as a force multiplier, such as review bombing or other PR-related campaigns. These are the things that shed some attention on the issue and asking people not to partake in them is a lot like those who claim that protests shouldn't include strikes, sit-ins, or generally being visible or in any way inconvenient ; the very inconvenience is the thing that draws attention to the issue. Relegating them exclusively to "free speech zones" where nobody will see and/or hear the message by design is a hostile action. In this case especially fiscally highlighting the imbalance, an apt metaphor might be how the British were very cross indeed with those American colonists during the Revolution, who kept using guerilla and other irregular tactics instead of marching nicely in a straight line so they could be obliterated by a vastly superior force in conventional warfare.

Would it be much better if these techniques were not necessary in order to have grievances redressed with any degree of likelihood? Certainly! Would improvements help to make these techniques more viable and useful, if available? Of course - Steam allowing users to "review/rate" developers or publishers the same way the do individual games would be helpful and a better focus on the issue at hand. However, when I've watched the evolution of big-money, AAA gaming over the past decade plus and see things consistently going less and less about user experience and more about corporate profit via exploitative means, where attempts to rebuke these decisions are consistently ignored and they only get worse, I can't feel that shocked pearl-clutching and offense from said industry when people try to find (reasonable) objections that might - gasp - actually force them to confront the problem is inappropriate.
 
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Aix.

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You completely missed the example. They can charge $60 on epic then, and $67 on steam. Their profit is then the same no matter where it is sold. And a larger marketbase is going to equal more sales. This would have be the smart thing for Gearbox to do.

Exactly. Epic is trying to compete with Valve. They charge a smaller cut of the selling price for games on their platform. This is all well and good. The issue is that Gearbox agreed to be exclusive, so now Epic has convinced Gearbox to do something that is Gearbox vs Customer. That is great for Epic, but it's shit for the consumer, and reflects poorly on Gearbox. THIS is the core of our discontent. And time will tell if it was a shit move on Gearboxs' part.

They could have put it on Steam for $67 or whatever price makes Gearboxs' per sale profit from Steam, identical to the per sale profit from those sold on Epic.

This is just Gearbox being greedy imho. Of course they are in the business to make money. A lot of you in this thread seem to have "Steam hate" because they charge a larger cut of the game sale vs Epic. What about when games were physical? How much % of the games' cost do you think that was?? Gearbox is making MORE per sale, even on steam with the 20 or 30% or whatever cut it is, because physical distribution was waaay more expensive. So do I feel sorry for Gearbox when they pay Steam a 20% cut of a game sale? Hell no I don't.

Imagine being at Gearbox and reading all these complaints about how EPIC is going to price-fix and charge more for games...and then reading other comments like this where people are proposing that they charge more for the game on Steam so they could buy it there. It's like you've completely understood their side of the issue but are now asking for a workaround that harms you in the name of consumer choice.

From what I can see the pricing for BL3 seems to be the same as every other game out there, so I'm not seeing how this is Gearbox being greedy.
 

M76

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I literally was pointing out your strawman arguments and just pointed out they're giving away $20 games for free. Or is getting stuff for free bad?
If someone mentions a problem, pivot to talking about a non problem. Check. Still not an argument.
I guess your rage glasses filter all that out.:cool:
Ad hominem, check. also not a valid argument.
Or is me pointing out your strawman arguments a strawman argument? But that would make you pointing out my "strawman" arguments a strawman argument. Lmao
You don't seem to know what a strawman argument is. Hint: it is misrepresenting or assuming the other side's stance on something. Which you're doing right now in this very post. I think we can call that epic fail no. 3.
 

GoodBoy

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Imagine being at Gearbox and reading all these complaints about how EPIC is going to price-fix and charge more for games...and then reading other comments like this where people are proposing that they charge more for the game on Steam so they could buy it there. It's like you've completely understood their side of the issue but are now asking for a workaround that harms you in the name of consumer choice.

From what I can see the pricing for BL3 seems to be the same as every other game out there, so I'm not seeing how this is Gearbox being greedy.

If the price is the same on Epic store, then Gearbox IS being greedy. Epic takes a smaller cut of the sale, so instead of passing that to consumers they pocket the difference. Obviously this is one way for them to make more money, and Epic benefits by drawing more to its store. You can argue that it is win-win for Epic and Gearbox... looks that way on the face of it.

My point is they could make EVEN MORE money, by having a wider distribution. I bet this is exactly what happens once the game drops on Steam after the exclusive period ends. Thing is, by then no one will be willing to pay full price for an older game. We are USED to games going on significant sales months after they are launched. Sometimes it happens in only a single month! We the consumers have VALVE to thank for this... A game goes on sale on Steam, sales multiply by 40, and regardless of the cut they are taking, the fact the price is half, this is huge profit for the Dev. Selling a 10 million copies for half price with a cut going to steam is more profit than selling 800,000 copies at full price and taking most of the profit.
 

the_red

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Honestly i see this a good thing, it stop me from pre-ordering and getting day 1 bugs. By the time it will out on other stores the game will be ironed out.
 
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how Epic desperately trying to steal every new game coming out (before Fortnite turns into a pumpkin) makes anything better for gamers. None. I'm tossing cards into a hat.
.

Better for gamers? Maybe the fact that a lot of really good games are developed using the Unreal Engine?
 

odditory

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Better for gamers? Maybe the fact that a lot of really good games are developed using the Unreal Engine?
That may be true but has nothing to do with EGS.

Again, the question is what value-add does EGS bring to PC gaming. How do PC gamers benefit from Epic trying to poach every new game coming out.
 
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ManofGod

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That may be true but has nothing to do with EGS.

Again, the question is what value-add does EGS bring to PC gaming. How do PC gamers benefit from Epic trying to poach every new game coming out.

You mean like Intel poaching some of the best talent from Nvidia and AMD? :rolleyes:
 

Flogger23m

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I've been saying this (with a lot less math) all along, people either don't get it or don't care. They're too stubborn to realize that 1.) more money going to publishers and developers isn't a bad thing and 2.) there is very good reason to believe that publishers and developers will choose exclusivity on EGS even without any incentives from Epic beyond the reduced selling fees. Even in a a scenario where Epic doesn't do jack shit to make a game exclusive, people will still paint them as the villain.

Also, my understanding is that games that are sold on EGS that utilize the Unreal Engine do not have to pay the 5% licensing fee on those sales. If true, that means you can effectively add an addition 5%, roughly $2.5 million, in fees that would be paid out for Steam sales that wouldn't be paid out for EGS sales. That brings the difference to over $11 million dollars. That is a hefty fucking fee to sell on Steam. It blows my mind that people can't understand why publishers and developers are looking elsewhere.

I accounted for the UE4 licensing fee above which is 4% unless something changed recently. $8.5 million dollars is a lot of money. Again that wouldn't be 100% accurate due to regional pricing and regional sales which vary from game to game. But when you consider some places like Germany tend to charge even more than the US I think $60 USD is a good average to settle on. If someone has more accurate numbers on sales per region for a game you can get it even closer. But as an example, 50 developers at $70,000 a year salaries would cost $3,500,000. The money saved would cover their salaries for around 2.5 years. If you're a middle tier developer like Obsidian that is too good to pass up.

Obviously some of that extra profits won't be gained due to people wanting to get it on Steam so there will be some sales loss, but that number will be small and get smaller as time goes on. In the middle of this year EGS will have most of the important features of Steam so those concerns will fade over time.

All that being said the fee percentages will go up once more exclusives start coming to EGS. I think a lot of developers are realizing this and are getting in while you can save. Being the first is always difficult, but once the first major game got that out of the way (Metro) and took most of the heat the flood gates are now open for others like Obsidian. The best time to release a game on EGS is probably going to be later this year when the client reaches closer parity to Steam and the fees are still low. I'm going to assume they'll still offer reduced fees for those who use UE4 for long term if not forever.

.. the pc market is bigger than the console market..

Not for AAA games. Witcher 3 is a good example. PC sales almost reached parity with the PS4 long term but those were likely at reduced prices. Early sales count the most when profits are high.

https://www.dualshockers.com/witcher-sales-ps4-xbox-one-pc/

Keep in Mind CD Projekt would do better than most developers due to them having a strong PC first history and because Witcher 1 and 2 were PC games. Witcher 2 was only ported to consoles a year later and only to the 360. This meant Playstation players had no history with the franchise prior to to the 3rd game. Keep in mind the PS4 is the biggest platform currently.

Had Witcher 1/2 been released on all consoles and properly marketed the sales for Witcher 3 on consoles would likely be higher.

In general, around 30% of the sales for a AAA game are on PC. Nothing to scoff at but the major consoles simply sell more copies. Right now the Xbox One is selling poorly so the PS4 has a big lead, making up about 40-45% of sales typically. The PC copies are often outselling the One though.
 
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Aix.

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You mean like Intel poaching some of the best talent from Nvidia and AMD? :rolleyes:

Not sure if this was tongue-in-cheek, but I really have no idea why people have been trying to link these two things together, other than their brains melting from excessive outrage.
 
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That may be true but has nothing to do with EGS.

Again, the question is what value-add does EGS bring to PC gaming. How do PC gamers benefit from Epic trying to poach every new game coming out.

How does it not? So you would have to install more than one digital store front software? Big deal. That alone doesn't cost more money directly, but seeing as how Unreal Engine based games could make the developers more money would be a good thing for gamers in the long run.

I don't get all the hate towards having multiple choices to buy and download your games.
 

Flogger23m

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That alone doesn't cost more money directly, but seeing as how Unreal Engine based games could make the developers more money would be a good thing for gamers in the long run.

I think it might be beneficial for mid size studios. Being able to keep ~$5-7 million may be enough to allow them to take more risks. Or allow them to get funding for a more niche game if the projected costs are a few million lower.

We may see a project or two that would've had to be watered down for broader revenues or something that would have been outright not green lighted in the first place due to this new opportunity. But that is still a big "what if". For big studios like Ubisoft nothing will change, they'll just pocket the change. We'll see more watered down trash like Wildlands and Siege or whatever garbage they tack under the Tom Clancy name regardless.
 

odditory

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I don't get all the hate towards having multiple choices to buy and download your games.
Because Epic is trying to remove choice. Their vision is that there is no choice but buy games from them. No price competition, no regional pricing, no cheap keys from competing third party websites.

Firstparty games being exclusive to a publishers own store are one thing, but paying off third parties to stop selling games on other stores is the definition of anti-choice, anti-competition, anti-consumer.
 
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Because Epic is trying to remove choice. Their vision is that THERE IS NO CHOICE but buy games from them. And I don't get why that's so hard to grasp.

Firstparty games being exclusive to a publishers own store are one thing, but paying off third parties to stop selling games on other stores is the definition of anti-choice, anti-competition, anti-consumer.

Exclusives have been part of gaming since the beginning of gaming. Only before you had to buy a specific console to play an exclusive game if you wanted to play it. Now, along with console exclusives as well, you have PC digital store fronts with exclusive game titles. It has not always just been first party games either.
 

Flogger23m

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... no regional pricing...

You realize they've had regional pricing for a good while now right? Here is an update from February 2nd:

https://www.epicgames.com/store/en-US/news/more-regional-pricing-options-added

Now I don't know how it works because I've never looked on the store. Also I do know that Europeans (and I assume other non-US countries) used to complain about Steam for collecting VAT for some reason or charging more than Americans because of their governments VAT was included in the sale price. I'm not sure if we're seeing the same old tired argument used against Epic in place of Steam. If the issue is the latter than that is something people have to blame on their governments for charging obscenely high tax rates and it isn't something Epic or even Valve can change.

As for Steam allowing resellers like GMG to operate I think that will be coming to an end soon due to South Dakota VS Wayfair. In the next year or two Valve will see a massive drop off of sales due to Americans increasingly moving to foreign CD key sellers. These sites are most popular with regions which that are lower income but sales tax at point of sale will make Steam a lot more expensive. When this happens many more Americans will turn to a place like GMG and Valve will loose their main customer which won't be sustainable.
 
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Lots of things have been around for a long time, till we decided to get rid of/change that thing. I mean who are exclusives good for? The customer?

Exclusives aren't good for anyone, but it's a practice that's been going on for decades. Not Epic's fault they have to be competitive using the same strategy.
 

ManofGod

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Not sure if this was tongue-in-cheek, but I really have no idea why people have been trying to link these two things together, other than their brains melting from excessive outrage.

The point it, the excessive outrage over one and total ignoring of the other. Personally, I do not care either way, just so long as Intel does not poach any technology with it. I have no issue with what Epic is doing and although it bothers me what Intel is doing, just so long as it is legal and they do not steal tech, I am fine with it.
 

M76

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Exclusives aren't good for anyone, but it's a practice that's been going on for decades. Not Epic's fault they have to be competitive using the same strategy.
It's not the scammers fault that scamming people is lucrative.
 

M76

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You mean like Intel poaching some of the best talent from Nvidia and AMD? :rolleyes:
That would be like epic hiring former steam employees. So not in any way analogous to what epic is doing with games. Employee migration does not affect the consumer directly and it won't result in a price monopoly.
 
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GoodBoy

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Exclusives have been part of gaming since the beginning of gaming. Only before you had to buy a specific console to play an exclusive game if you wanted to play it. Now, along with console exclusives as well, you have PC digital store fronts with exclusive game titles. It has not always just been first party games either.

PC 'Exclusives' != Console Exclusives..

Console games by definition were initially exclusive. Console hardware could and was wildly different in power, cpu type, gpu type (if they even had a gpu). You can't port Halo to a Nintendo for example. Yes they also all decided to try and duplicate the success of Super Mario Bros by creating their own properties, and it evolved into on-purpose exclusives vs those that simply were that way due to computational needs of the game.

But pc exclusives are not even close to being the same. Console: either make a console game multi-platform, or accept payment for it to be exclusive in lieu of doing the work to port it to the other consoles. PC: only sell it at one store.
 
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PC 'Exclusives' != Console Exclusives..

Console games by definition were initially exclusive. Console hardware could and was wildly different in power, cpu type, gpu type (if they even had a gpu). You can't port Halo to a Nintendo for example. Yes they also all decided to try and duplicate the success of Super Mario Bros by creating their own properties, and it evolved into on-purpose exclusives vs those that simply were that way due to computational needs of the game.

But pc exclusives are not even close to being the same. Console: either make a console game multi-platform, or accept payment for it to be exclusive in lieu of doing the work to port it to the other consoles. PC: only sell it at one store.

Guess you are new to gaming in general then. Back in the day before x86 dominated personal computers there were "exclusive" games for certain hardware/operating systems on the PC. While they may not have been intentionally exclusive, but you could only play certain games on certain hardware and operating systems.

Having one "digital store" for the PC is not the way to go. Steam only dominates because they were the first on the block of offer such a service. I would rather not have all my games in one basket.
 

Flogger23m

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No, Epic is setting up shop and telling you you are no longer buying games from anyone else but me. That is the very definition of bullying wouldn't you say? "Buy it from me or don't buy it at all!"

Both of those statements are wrong. First of all you can purchase Epic store keys elsewhere. Was looking up when Detroit Become Human / Heavy Rain were coming to PC. Found this:

engadget said:
Developers will be able to sell Epic Games Store titles through the Humble Store, and Epic won't take a cut of those sales. At first, if you buy one of these bundles, you'll receive keys to unlock the games on Epic's store, though you'll soon be able to link your Epic and Humble accounts for direct purchases.

https://www.engadget.com/2019/03/20/detroit-become-human-heavy-rain-pc-release-epic-games-store/

Not exactly as nice as Steam at the moment, but it isn't all within Epic's store. As for the "bullying" developers/publishers don't have to opt in. They can always sell on Steam or get together with some other publisher.

As I mentioned in another post, Steam will likely start curtailing the amount of keys allowed to be sold by 3rd party sites in the future. South Dakota VS Wayfair is going to change e-commerce forever and it will result in less Americans (probably Steam's biggest market for full price AAA games) purchasing directly from Steam. When this reality sets in in the next year or two Valve will have to react as will many other online based businesses.
 

odditory

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Indeed, it is their game and they can make whatever decisions they wish. In an idealized hypothetical market, users could simply chastise them by closing their wallets at which point the company would realize "wow, we made a mistake and our customers are leaving", reversing or at least revising course. Unfortunately in reality the situation is so dramatically stacked against player/customer interests already and Epic's behavior (3rd party exclusivity deals) tosses yet another huge rock on their end of the see-saw which is already driven deep into the earth. Just with a rough idea of how much money Epic is paying to bribe others into exclusivity, it would take hundreds of thousands of players (perhaps even millions) to engage in a boycott just to equal whatever lump of cash they're being offered!

Even if such a thing happened AND was sufficient to cause significant projected fiscal harm, this is an industry that routinely finds justifications and outright lies to cover for bad behavior/decisions. For instance, when a game does poorly its never because "we made a crappy, rushed, money grubbing product" or "We insisted on cramming it full of DRM", no its always "Evil pirates, or those people wouldn't have ever bought the game any way, or not out target market, orwe can do without them, or dry PR speak about misjudging release windows etc" and other such drek, intentionally missing the point even when there are coordinated objection campaigns like the one we're seeing here saying quite clearly "We didn't buy it because you did customer unfriendly shit, you shits". So even at that it is not like they'll take responsibility in good faith.

Not to mention that in general as we've seen in gaming generally customer hostile exploitative business practices have an extremely low bar to be justified in terms of profit. Take for instance something like "microtransactions" , selling a $5 or $25 item somewhere even within your title Some people will protest, it is absolutely against the principle of the thing in some cases and many will refuse to buy. However, the amount of man-hours and resources going into that item will almost certainly be quite small and easy to recoup, so it only takes a handful of purchases in order to appear a short-term (and remember, for many that's all they care about) positive. In order to "beat" such a policy sufficient to enact change there will need to be a massive negative correlated (ie You sell the item and next month you lose half your subscriptions etc) immediate event that even the PR and C-Level types can't spin and misdirect away into something else. This is to say nothing for certain leaders of various game publisher/developer/store companies (especially those discussed here) who, at least via their public communications such as Tweets, show what seem to show an attitude totally disregarding and hostile toward any and all criticism, personally.

In an era where quite a lot of us can "vote with our wallets" and the deck is stacked so far against us, I really can't fault players for using every potential (legal/ethical tactic. We're not talking about threatening bodily harm to family or anything abhorrent etc) tactic that can act as a force multiplier, such as review bombing or other PR-related campaigns. These are the things that shed some attention on the issue and asking people not to partake in them is a lot like those who claim that protests shouldn't include strikes, sit-ins, or generally being visible or in any way inconvenient ; the very inconvenience is the thing that draws attention to the issue. Relegating them exclusively to "free speech zones" where nobody will see and/or hear the message by design is a hostile action. In this case especially fiscally highlighting the imbalance, an apt metaphor might be how the British were very cross indeed with those American colonists during the Revolution, who kept using guerilla and other irregular tactics instead of marching nicely in a straight line so they could be obliterated by a vastly superior force in conventional warfare.

Would it be much better if these techniques were not necessary in order to have grievances redressed with any degree of likelihood? Certainly! Would improvements help to make these techniques more viable and useful, if available? Of course - Steam allowing users to "review/rate" developers or publishers the same way the do individual games would be helpful and a better focus on the issue at hand. However, when I've watched the evolution of big-money, AAA gaming over the past decade plus and see things consistently going less and less about user experience and more about corporate profit via exploitative means, where attempts to rebuke these decisions are consistently ignored and they only get worse, I can't feel that shocked pearl-clutching and offense from said industry when people try to find (reasonable) objections that might - gasp - actually force them to confront the problem is inappropriate.

Excellent post and well articulated. Epic would never admit any mistake. After the initial Exodus backlash, a senior Epic guy said "we won't be doing that again", but then Tim Sweeney retracted that with a "oh yes we will, Fortnite bribe cash FOR EVERONE".

Epic already went spin mode downplaying Metro Exodus sales not meeting expectations (read between the lines) as "hey at least it sold more than Last Light's initial sales" (comical, since most of Last Light's sales came later on and it was a far more obscure title at the time, meanwhile Exodus got hype boosted for a year and a half on Steam before it came out).

Finally, remember the Skyrim paid mods debacle where Gabe finally sided with gamers instead of Bethesda, and pulled the plug on paid mods? Could you ever see Tim Sweeney doing that - I sure as shit couldn't.
 
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M76

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Both of those statements are wrong. First of all you can purchase Epic store keys elsewhere. Was looking up when Detroit Become Human / Heavy Rain were coming to PC. Found this:
That's also a backroom deal between epic and the humble store, they won't be competitors. I doubt the humble store will be allowed to undercut the epic store, certainly not with newly released AAA titles.



https://www.engadget.com/2019/03/20/detroit-become-human-heavy-rain-pc-release-epic-games-store/

Not exactly as nice as Steam at the moment, but it isn't all within Epic's store. As for the "bullying" developers/publishers don't have to opt in. They can always sell on Steam or get together with some other publisher.
The bullying is against the customers, I thought that part was perfectly clear. They pay off the developers behind closed doors.
They clearly don't give a damn about customer's interests. They could've gained market share by simply selling the same games cheaper than steam, so people would've went there on their own accord without a grudge. It might have been a slower process, but one that would've been worth it. Well at least the cat is out of the bag, I know what kind of people I'm dealing with.

As I mentioned in another post, Steam will likely start curtailing the amount of keys allowed to be sold by 3rd party sites in the future. South Dakota VS Wayfair is going to change e-commerce forever and it will result in less Americans (probably Steam's biggest market for full price AAA games) purchasing directly from Steam. When this reality sets in in the next year or two Valve will have to react as will many other online based businesses.
I have no clue about us internal politics, I assume that is a precedent case. What is it about? Not that I ever bought an AAA game directly from steam in my entire life anyway.
 

sharknice

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Excellent post and well articulated. Epic would never admit any mistake. After the initial Exodus backlash, a senior Epic guy said "we won't be doing that again", but then Tim Sweeney retracted that with a "oh yes we will, Fortnite bribe cash FOR EVERONE".

Epic already went spin mode downplaying Metro Exodus sales not meeting expectations (read between the lines) as "hey at least it sold more than Last Light's initial sales" (comical, since most of Last Light's sales came later on and it was a far more obscure title at the time, meanwhile Exodus got hype boosted for a year and a half on Steam before it came out).

Finally, remember the Skyrim paid mods debacle where Gabe finally sided with gamers instead of Bethesda, and pulled the plug on paid mods? Could you ever see Tim Sweeney doing that - I sure as shit couldn't.


Saying Gabe "sided with gamers" isn't true at all. He reluctantly pulled the plug on paid mods due to the backlash and said gamers don't know what's good for them.
 

Flogger23m

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That's also a backroom deal between epic and the humble store, they won't be competitors. I doubt the humble store will be allowed to undercut the epic store, certainly not with newly released AAA titles.

True but that is more or less the same situation with official key resellers. All of the legit ones like GMG have deals with the publishers and by extension Valve.

They could've gained market share by simply selling the same games cheaper than steam, so people would've went there on their own accord without a grudge.

Well that is kind of what they're doing now. Except most developers/publishers won't lower the price because they want the higher margins (see BL3 and Outerworlds which I assume will be standard price). Raising the standard price on Steam even higher would get even more backlash than simply selling it at $60 on EGS. You really can't get away from that unless you're making the biggest game of the last few years. CoD MW2 was the first game if I recall to push the $60 pricing to PC but at that time CoD was consistently breaking sales records. Client of choice or lack of buying options riles people up on the internet, but raising the cost on the preferred platform would grab the attention of the average consumer. Having one price level staves off the "oh wow it costs more than a normal game" issue.

We'd also be back to square one. Epic would be "paying off the developers" because its cheaper on EGS than it is on Steam, or they're extorting Valve or the various other low effort arguments made by the average person.

TLDR: You'll get flack either way. But with selling exclusively on EGS the potential for higher profits is a good incentive. Epic doesn't need to do anything else because a developer/publisher stands to make millions extra. This will likely be short lived as the fees won't stay this low forever so a lot of developers/publishers are trying to get in while they can get a good deal.

I have no clue about us internal politics, I assume that is a precedent case. What is it about? Not that I ever bought an AAA game directly from steam in my entire life anyway.

Sales tax collected at point of sale for all online purchases regardless of the state the business has a physical presence in. Formerly sales tax was only charged in WA for Valve. Now they will have to collect in 48 states more or less by the end of this year. This means a place like GMG becomes an even better deal.

Middle tier markets where wages were lower have grown accustomed to 3rd party sites due to less purchasing power and lower wages. That worked okay for Valve because high margin areas would largely buy directly on Steam. But going forward more Americans will be willing to buy off of Steam due to the sales tax. Longer term this will see a huge cut in revenues for Valve. Unless the states can start forcing foreign companies like GMG to charge sales tax this will hurt Valve greatly. If this ends up being the case I can see Valve tightening who can re-sell Steam keys. Even a 20-30% loss of revenue from selling on Steam would hurt Valve. So even if you're not an American this will likely end up effecting you down the road.
 

M76

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True but that is more or less the same situation with official key resellers. All of the legit ones like GMG have deals with the publishers and by extension Valve.
I don't know what is the exact deal. But what I do see is that some games are cheaper at one seller, while other games are at another. And in the end I can get pretty good deals for every game, even for origin and uplay games, that have nothing to do with valve. With epic store there won't be such competition. If they assume I'll pay the full $60 for every game from now on they are dead wrong. My games purchases would probably be cut in half if not more if I was forced to buy every game at $60. And I bet a lot of other people are in the same boat. Three sales at $45 is still better than two sales at 60$. And I bet the epic store costs them close to 1/3 of the potential sales to begin with.

Well that is kind of what they're doing now. Except most developers/publishers won't lower the price because they want the higher margins (see BL3 and Outerworlds which I assume will be standard price). Raising the standard price on Steam even higher would get even more backlash than simply selling it at $60 on EGS. You really can't get away from that unless you're making the biggest game of the last few years. CoD MW2 was the first game if I recall to push the $60 pricing to PC but at that time CoD was consistently breaking sales records. Client of choice or lack of buying options riles people up on the internet, but raising the cost on the preferred platform would grab the attention of the average consumer. Having one price level staves off the "oh wow it costs more than a normal game" issue.

They don't have to raise prices on steam. Epic could've instead of paying the devs for exclusivity footed an $5 off from every game compared to steam. And I tell you, for $5 difference I'll go to another store any day.
We'd also be back to square one. Epic would be "paying off the developers" because its cheaper on EGS than it is on Steam, or they're extorting Valve or the various other low effort arguments made by the average person.

TLDR: You'll get flack either way. But with selling exclusively on EGS the potential for higher profits is a good incentive. Epic doesn't need to do anything else because a developer/publisher stands to make millions extra. This will likely be short lived as the fees won't stay this low forever so a lot of developers/publishers are trying to get in while they can get a good deal.
You know damn well that no dev would've pulled their game from steam if not for epic offering them something extra above the 12% revenue share. Revenue share is one thing, but if they just shift 25% more copies with being both on epic store and steam they already made more money than with being epic exclusives.And that is assuming 90% of the sales were on steam at 30% revenue share.


Sales tax collected at point of sale for all online purchases regardless of the state the business has a physical presence in. Formerly sales tax was only charged in WA for Valve. Now they will have to collect in 48 states more or less by the end of this year. This means a place like GMG becomes an even better deal.

Middle tier markets where wages were lower have grown accustomed to 3rd party sites due to less purchasing power and lower wages. That worked okay for Valve because high margin areas would largely buy directly on Steam. But going forward more Americans will be willing to buy off of Steam due to the sales tax. Longer term this will see a huge cut in revenues for Valve. Unless the states can start forcing foreign companies like GMG to charge sales tax this will hurt Valve greatly. If this ends up being the case I can see Valve tightening who can re-sell Steam keys. Even a 20-30% loss of revenue from selling on Steam would hurt Valve. So even if you're not an American this will likely end up effecting you down the road.
We'll have to wait and see what happens.
 

Flogger23m

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I don't know what is the exact deal. But what I do see is that some games are cheaper at one seller, while other games are at another.

In general some of those games were intended for certain regions but aren't region locked. Depends what prices you're paying and where you are. I know some markets (like China) require at least one alternative so traditionally there were legal reasons although that is starting to fade as Steam was finally allowed into the PRC a few years back. Region locking is also becoming a little more common as of late from what I've seen from 3rd party sites.

I
And in the end I can get pretty good deals for every game, even for origin and uplay games, that have nothing to do with valve.

Same situation as above.

They don't have to raise prices on steam.

But then who would buy on Epic? Not many. Which kills the higher revenue per sale concept. Developers/publishers are looking for any way to get more profits. Sell for a high price ($60) for as small margins as possible. They can drop it to $55 but they're leaving $5 on the table. Just common business sense. If you can keep an extra $4-5 million to help keep your studio afloat for 6-9 months what would you do?

Pricing for games has remained stagnant regardless of inflation and costs have gone up. Yes they've been selling more copies but you have to constantly broaden your appeal to get more sales which is obviously a bad thing (less niche games). The game industry is doing everything possible to avoid having to charge more than $60 MSRP. Micro transactions, MP only, MP infused SP games (I hate that crap) you name it.

As for moving more copies on both stores, sure that would happen. Over time it will become less of a factor as more are used to buying off Steam. But this is why most developers right now are opting for a delayed Steam release. Get those initial high priced, $60 sales with low margins up front. They don't want to charge $55 on EGS or sell on Steam for $60. $60 on EGS = more profit than either of those alternatives. Exceptions like Metro do come to mind but I don't think that will be the common option.

The hold outs can get it on Steam likely at reduced prices. Remember this low fee (12%) isn't going to be around forever. I assume they will hike up to 20% long term. Developers/publishers are going to scramble to get in on the deal while they can.

You know damn well that no dev would've pulled their game from steam if not for epic offering them something extra above the 12% revenue share. Revenue share is one thing, but if they just shift 25% more copies with being both on epic store and steam they already made more money than with being epic exclusives.And that is assuming 90% of the sales were on steam at 30% revenue share.

Look above at my post with the rough numbers (for UE4 games) and cut it down by 50% . If you can take home $4 million extra by just selling on EGS what would you do as a company? That is accounting for a loss of sales by not selling on Steam.

Is this helping gamers? Not really. Maybe a good game will get the green light because it will cost $4-6 million less to sell. That is big if. More than likely nothing will change for the gamer. Seems like Valve is working a bit harder to improve Steam in some meaningful ways though as of late to rejuvenate the platform which is nice.

We'll have to wait and see what happens.

Certainly will be interesting to see what happens.
 

odditory

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Saying Gabe "sided with gamers" isn't true at all. He reluctantly pulled the plug on paid mods due to the backlash and said gamers don't know what's good for them.
Citation needed on him saying "gamers don't know what's good for them".

In the end he sided with gamers, reluctantly or otherwise. There was a backlash, and some people tried to minimize it "a few cry babies on Reddit, and most people don't care, and it's just capitalism bro".

He could've easily stood his ground and said get over it. After all Steam is a "monopoly" right.

Valve took the high road. I could never see Epic or Sweeney doing same based on their current behavior.
 
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Jagger100

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If the price is the same on Epic store, then Gearbox IS being greedy. Epic takes a smaller cut of the sale, so instead of passing that to consumers they pocket the difference. Obviously this is one way for them to make more money, and Epic benefits by drawing more to its store. You can argue that it is win-win for Epic and Gearbox... looks that way on the face of it.

My point is they could make EVEN MORE money, by having a wider distribution. I bet this is exactly what happens once the game drops on Steam after the exclusive period ends. Thing is, by then no one will be willing to pay full price for an older game. We are USED to games going on significant sales months after they are launched. Sometimes it happens in only a single month! We the consumers have VALVE to thank for this... A game goes on sale on Steam, sales multiply by 40, and regardless of the cut they are taking, the fact the price is half, this is huge profit for the Dev. Selling a 10 million copies for half price with a cut going to steam is more profit than selling 800,000 copies at full price and taking most of the profit.
They got a sweetener that is more then just Epic's smaller cut. They got some investment throw away money to try to grow the store ASAP. Instead of offering better deals which is a wildcard. They are using it to get exclusivity deals. If 2K isn't getting something extra, they're screwing themselves. Maybe Epic also promises less price attenuation over the life of the offering too. No $5 deals a year after release.
 

M76

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Look above at my post with the rough numbers (for UE4 games) and cut it down by 50% . If you can take home $4 million extra by just selling on EGS what would you do as a company? That is accounting for a loss of sales by not selling on Steam.
I did the math. Assuming a game is on both stores. They only need to sell roughly 25% more copies to break even, even if 90% of the games sold were on steam! And that is using the worst case scenario 30% revenue share for steam. And I doubt 90% of people would remain on steam if they got a slightly better deal on epic.

And everybody is happy, as opposed to everybody being mad, except for a few epic shills, and the clueless ones who don't understand why this is bad for the consumer.

Obviously I don't know if selling those games on both steam and epic store would mean 25% more sales over being exclusive, but I don't think it's beyond the realm of possibility.
 

Deathroned

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True but that is more or less the same situation with official key resellers. All of the legit ones like GMG have deals with the publishers and by extension Valve.



Well that is kind of what they're doing now. Except most developers/publishers won't lower the price because they want the higher margins (see BL3 and Outerworlds which I assume will be standard price). Raising the standard price on Steam even higher would get even more backlash than simply selling it at $60 on EGS. You really can't get away from that unless you're making the biggest game of the last few years. CoD MW2 was the first game if I recall to push the $60 pricing to PC but at that time CoD was consistently breaking sales records. Client of choice or lack of buying options riles people up on the internet, but raising the cost on the preferred platform would grab the attention of the average consumer. Having one price level staves off the "oh wow it costs more than a normal game" issue.

We'd also be back to square one. Epic would be "paying off the developers" because its cheaper on EGS than it is on Steam, or they're extorting Valve or the various other low effort arguments made by the average person.

They don't do that because Steam Forbids it.

there's a difference between a key reseller (GMG, G2A etc) and a direct Competitor(the pander bears of the industry GOG,EGS or the Discord store).

TLDR: You'll get flack either way. But with selling exclusively on EGS the potential for higher profits is a good incentive. Epic doesn't need to do anything else because a developer/publisher stands to make millions extra. This will likely be short lived as the fees won't stay this low forever so a lot of developers/publishers are trying to get in while they can get a good deal.



Sales tax collected at point of sale for all online purchases regardless of the state the business has a physical presence in. Formerly sales tax was only charged in WA for Valve. Now they will have to collect in 48 states more or less by the end of this year. This means a place like GMG becomes an even better deal.

Middle tier markets where wages were lower have grown accustomed to 3rd party sites due to less purchasing power and lower wages. That worked okay for Valve because high margin areas would largely buy directly on Steam. But going forward more Americans will be willing to buy off of Steam due to the sales tax. Longer term this will see a huge cut in revenues for Valve. Unless the states can start forcing foreign companies like GMG to charge sales tax this will hurt Valve greatly. If this ends up being the case I can see Valve tightening who can re-sell Steam keys. Even a 20-30% loss of revenue from selling on Steam would hurt Valve. So even if you're not an American this will likely end up effecting you down the road.
 

Deathroned

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They got a sweetener that is more then just Epic's smaller cut. They got some investment throw away money to try to grow the store ASAP. Instead of offering better deals which is a wildcard. They are using it to get exclusivity deals. If 2K isn't getting something extra, they're screwing themselves. Maybe Epic also promises less price attenuation over the life of the offering too. No $5 deals a year after release.

Another thing that Gabe's NPC's like M76, Zara etc don't know that, steam has an agreement that forbids developers from selling any game cheaper at a direct competitor (GOG,EGS) but are fine with key reseller's since they can still profit from them through steam cards etc
 

Flogger23m

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I did the math. Assuming a game is on both stores. They only need to sell roughly 25% more copies to break even, even if 90% of the games sold were on steam! And that is using the worst case scenario 30% revenue share for steam. And I doubt 90% of people would remain on steam if they got a slightly better deal on epic.

And everybody is happy, as opposed to everybody being mad, except for a few epic shills, and the clueless ones who don't understand why this is bad for the consumer.

Obviously I don't know if selling those games on both steam and epic store would mean 25% more sales over being exclusive, but I don't think it's beyond the realm of possibility.

That part in bold is the hard part. In 2019 I'm really doubting that. I have at least four clients on my PC right now and those don't include EGS, GOG, Rockstar or Blizzards thing. On top of that I have a few games which use their own updater that isn't exactly a client. I don't see a 25% decrease in sales by not selling on Steam. Back in 2011 I'd say that would probably be accurate for a middle tier game. I'd think the reality is closer to 5-10% at best.

Obviously, they intend to get most buyers to cave in as most sales are made in the initial launch window. $60 at 12% will get the most profits and of course, the holdouts will likely end up getting it on Steam.

The big issue is how barren EGS was at launch. They should have added the important features like cloud saves before opening it up to more 3rd parties.

...steam has an agreement that forbids developers from selling any game cheaper at a direct competitor (GOG,EGS) but are fine with key reseller's since they can still profit from them through steam cards etc

Source for this? If true certainly makes sense why a late Steam release has become common.
 
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