"World War Z" Studio: Epic Exclusivity Is "the Best Deal for Players and Developers"

Megalith

24-bit/48kHz
Staff member
Joined
Aug 20, 2006
Messages
13,003
Saber Interactive CEO Matthew Karch wants gamers to stop whining about World War Z being an Epic Games Store exclusive. In his latest blog post, Karch explains how the decision has allowed the studio to both “invest more” into the title and price the zombie adaptation cheaper: reaping 88% of the proceeds instead of just 70% has allowed Saber to not only polish up the game better, but price the co-op action title at $34.99 instead of $39.99.

…we're passing along much of the savings to you as gamers. The price of World War Z on the Epic Games store is being dropped to $34.99 starting now and continuing through our April 16 launch and beyond. Any players who have already pre-purchased the game for $39.99 will get the $5 refunded back to them. We are thrilled to be able to share the developer-friendly benefits of the Epic Games store with you all, and can’t wait for you to play our game.
 

joobjoob

Gawd
Joined
Jun 29, 2004
Messages
543
Refunded without being pressured into it. This kinda of competition does put good guy pressure on steam.

A feature I would love to see someone like epic or GOG aggressively integrate would be gaming equivalent of Netflix old referral algorithm. Back when Netflix just slow shipped DVDs they put alot more effort into accurate referrals. Circa 2005, after rating over 100 movies (you could rate movies they didnt even carry) the referral algo got so accurate I could blind watch anything with a high match score and love it. Remeber noticing a movie with a 92% match score I had never heard of and hot excited because I knew I would love it. That movie? Equilibrium. As gaming is a 9-90-900 hour commitment rather 90 minutes, this is an even bigger deal.

I've got over a thousand games in my library 90% of which I bought cheap and after powering through hours of tutorial still couldn't tell if I would actually like it once the game started. Looking at you xenoblade chronicles. Comments are subjective and useless.

Far from isolating me into my comfort zone after watching and loveing a few Japanese animated films like apple seed I started getting high match referrals for other anime I would actually like.a


https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Netflix_Prize
 

Lakados

2[H]4U
Joined
Feb 3, 2014
Messages
2,614
Last time I mentioned that it was a better deal for developers during the Metro Exodus release I got shouted down by the Steam mafia. Looks like more than one developer agrees with me though.
I never understood the worship of Steam..... It’s a store and Valve is a developer. What was the last good title Valve put out? How many games are licensing their engine because it’s the best and not just because of the discounts you get for using it then selling the game through the Steam store? Valve was doing great stuff for a while then the money came in and they got lazy, now I don’t see any difference between Valve and EA for all they do.
 

kirbyrj

Fully [H]
Joined
Feb 1, 2005
Messages
26,537
I can understand people wanting to only run one "launcher" but the reality is a lot of 3rd party games on Steam (e.g. Ubisoft) requires a uPlay install anyway. So all Steam does is launch uPlay to launch your game. As inconvenient as it is, I have Steam, uPlay, Origin, GOG, and Epic all installed. If I can get a better deal by just buying through the native client anyway, why not?
 

Lakados

2[H]4U
Joined
Feb 3, 2014
Messages
2,614
I can understand people wanting to only run one "launcher" but the reality is a lot of 3rd party games on Steam (e.g. Ubisoft) requires a uPlay install anyway. So all Steam does is launch uPlay to launch your game. As inconvenient as it is, I have Steam, uPlay, Origin, GOG, and Epic all installed. If I can get a better deal by just buying through the native client anyway, why not?
Beamdog too.
 

ZodaEX

2[H]4U
Joined
Sep 17, 2004
Messages
3,729
I can understand people wanting to only run one "launcher" but the reality is a lot of 3rd party games on Steam (e.g. Ubisoft) requires a uPlay install anyway. So all Steam does is launch uPlay to launch your game. As inconvenient as it is, I have Steam, uPlay, Origin, GOG, and Epic all installed. If I can get a better deal by just buying through the native client anyway, why not?
Because some people hate EA and ubidoft and thetefthe refuse to support them with our hard earned money. I put my money where my mouth is unlike plenty of other sheeple.
 

masquap

Limp Gawd
Joined
Oct 2, 2011
Messages
134
I never understood the worship of Steam.
For me it’s not store worship, It’s that I’m sick of constantly fragmenting the market so some other greedy company (like Valve) can get a cut. Steam is the entrenched and I’m fine with it as an app, functionality, price etc. I don’t want a launcher for every damn game I have all with it’s own quirks and “telemetry” just so some other company can get a cut.

Neither Epic nor Saber are doing this for altruistic reasons, they just want more for themselves and less for Valve.
 

kirbyrj

Fully [H]
Joined
Feb 1, 2005
Messages
26,537
Because some people hate EA and ubidoft and thetefthe refuse to support them with our hard earned money. I put my money where my mouth is unlike plenty of other sheeple.
You're installing the program anyway to run the game in Steam. You can't run their games without their launcher even if you buy the game on Steam. The only way to not support them is to not buy their games independent of where you get them.
 

Lakados

2[H]4U
Joined
Feb 3, 2014
Messages
2,614
For me it’s not store worship, It’s that I’m sick of constantly fragmenting the market so some other greedy company (like Valve) can get a cut. Steam is the entrenched and I’m fine with it as an app, functionality, price etc. I don’t want a launcher for every damn game I have all with it’s own quirks and “telemetry” just so some other company can get a cut.

Neither Epic nor Saber are doing this for altruistic reasons, they just want more for themselves and less for Valve.
Then if Valve took a smaller cut then this wouldn't be an issue, but they don't 30% is a big number, so you could flip that around and say we are only in this boat because Valve wants more for themselves and less for everyone else.
 

ordray

n00b
Joined
Sep 20, 2018
Messages
17
Neither Epic nor Saber are doing this for altruistic reasons, they just want more for themselves and less for Valve.
Well, of course. That's generally why businesses make business decisions. They can make money, cause their competitors to make less money, and help the consumer via lower prices thus garnering good will with the consumer.
 

masquap

Limp Gawd
Joined
Oct 2, 2011
Messages
134
Then if Valve took a smaller cut then this wouldn't be an issue, but they don't 30% is a big number, so you could flip that around and say we are only in this boat because Valve wants more for themselves and less for everyone else.
Sure, and if it took 5% it'd be even less of an issue, mostly because it wouldn't be there. Epic store is being funded entirely at this stage by Fortnite, and not off its own merits. We'll see how it goes in the long term when Fortnite gets replaced as the game du jour and it actually has to financially support itself (like Steam does).

My point was I don't see how making something a store exclusive is in ANY way a good thing, this is console exclusives on PC, brought to you by corporate greed and Epic is just as much the bad guy (handing over buckets of cash so you download their app) as Steam is (higher % of the take).
 

RPGWiZaRD

[H]ard|Gawd
Joined
Jan 24, 2009
Messages
1,111
So why not continue to sell it on Steam for $40 and let the market decide? Oh, because you’re cool gamer people too, not because buckets of Epic cash... uh huh.
This. I personally don't mind that there's options but why the exclusivity? I don't know why Epic is pushing for it so hard either, surely they must know it damages their company image and makes them seem like corrupt greedy corporation that just wants your money. Surely the better strategy is sell it 34.99 on Epic Store and let them sell it on Steam for 39,99 and let people decide, it might take little bit longer with the adaption but it goes without all the drama and behind-the-scenes pay for exclusivity fees involved which is definitely better for the long term. Or more specifically, let the publisher decide whether they want it to be on other portals as well, I bet some publishers have a grudge and might want to support Epic with exclusivity due some issues with Valve in the past but that's the publisher's problem then, not Epic's.

No publisher seems to have any good answer to this specific question. ;p

They should make a u-turn and meet the people's criticism and apologize for the exclusivity and just use the cheaper price as the selling point, focus on developing the store to have more & better features and stop with all the dodgy deals asap. Always better in the long-term to want users come to you than force the customers to come to you. Doesn't matter if Fortnite is doing big bucks right now either, it's too much of a company image at risk that no matter the situation with the economy, it's not worth going that path. The reason that they have built the Unreal Engine 4 and a lot of developers use it and this store is the natural place for UE4 titles due cheaper price and being able to offer better support and more exclusive "built-into" store features is enough of a reason why this portal will stay relevant for a long time to come even without making dodgy deals.
 
Last edited:

masquap

Limp Gawd
Joined
Oct 2, 2011
Messages
134
This. I personally don't mind that there's options but why the exclusivity? I don't know why Epic is pushing for it so hard either, surely they must know it damages their company image and makes them seem like corrupt greedy corporation that just wants your money. Surely the better strategy is sell it 34.99 on Epic Store and let them sell it on Steam for 39,99 and let people decide, it might take little bit longer but it goes without all the drama involved which is definitely better for the long term.
Lack of choice is never good for the consumer, if someone wants to pay for simplicity, supporting a brand or some value they feel they get (perceived better service) then let them. If they want the cheapest price possible then cool, offer that too. Epic knows that it has a mountain of Fortnite bucks that aren't going to last, the only way they're going to get a foothold is exclusives as they don't have enough of their own IPs (see Origin and Uplay, or Disney if you want to liken it to the VoD market). This is NOT pro consumer in any way. Saber gets paid, Epic gets paid, the consumer has to deal with what's served to them.
 

Eymar

Limp Gawd
Joined
Sep 15, 2005
Messages
265
As a consumer why would I not be pro Steam. Easy to backup/move game storage options (looking at you Origin/Rockstar/Microsoft. I guess everybody except GoG and Blizzard), dependable cloud saves, local network game streaming, strong linux support, VR, big game screen mode, seemingly non intrusive DRM and still pretty good sales. These are just the features I care about. As a software developer sure I want dev's to have the biggest cut they can, but as a consumer if cost is similar I prefer to buy the steam version before all else.
 

aaronspink

2[H]4U
Joined
Jun 7, 2004
Messages
2,122
I never understood the worship of Steam..... It’s a store and Valve is a developer.
It works
It has features
Its features work
It has support
It has a community
Those also work
stuff actually working is kind of a big deal

EPIC launcher is a POS without any features that barely works and should never of been released in the state it is in.
Origin is a complete POS that breaks when you look at it
Ubisoft's launcher is a complete POS and the reason I don't even acknowledge that their games exist at this point.

Steam isn't perfect, but by and large it is by far the least bad option.
 

Ebernanut

[H]ard|Gawd
Joined
Dec 15, 2010
Messages
1,254
I much prefer GOG or the old fashioned method of physical media but of the heavily DRMed DD services I find Steam to be the least offensive for several reasons including functionality and reliability.

When the Epic store launched I said that competition is good but fragmentation is bad and we'd have to see how it played out. It looks like they've decided to go the route of fragmentation which is nothing but bad IMO. You could argue that the discounted prices increase competition but when payed exclusives are involved it seems more like lube than a carrot.

I certainly don't plan on buying anything on there anytime soon but that's half due to me not having any faith it'll still be around in 5 years.
 

JargonGR

Limp Gawd
Joined
Dec 16, 2006
Messages
493
All this shit with multiple launchers happens because Microsoft could not get their own shit together all these years and make Windows THE gaming platform with their own GAME market where all developers could sell directly. It could be done and MS could afford not to charge more than 5-7% commission....but now its late and they lost the opportunity to command the desktop gaming market.
 

wizdum

[H]ard|Gawd
Joined
Sep 22, 2010
Messages
1,943
I never understood the worship of Steam..... It’s a store and Valve is a developer. What was the last good title Valve put out? How many games are licensing their engine because it’s the best and not just because of the discounts you get for using it then selling the game through the Steam store? Valve was doing great stuff for a while then the money came in and they got lazy, now I don’t see any difference between Valve and EA for all they do.
How long have you been a gamer? A lot of it I think is due to loyalty from "the good old days". Valve put a lot of effort into making Steam a revolutionary platform at the time. Being able to forget the multiple DVD installation disks, going to the publisher's website to download patches, horrendous server browsers, multiple third party chat/friend's lists that barely integrated with anything, mod support that was more "hope and prayer". They addressed a lot of the big issues from almost day 1 with allowing Offline Play, and not uniquely encrypting downloads (meaning, you can just copy game files from one computer to another, run a small <1MB update, and play). This was a big deal when the average internet connection in my area was 500kb/124kb.

As a broke high school student, the mod scene was huge for my social group. We bought the Orang Box, and instantly had access to 100's of free mods that were 1 click away, and in many cases had more content than the crap that AAA publishers are peddling today. The loyalty was well earned, and I wouldn't put them on the same tier as EA yet. I agree that is has faded a lot over the years though.

EDIT: And I don't mean that as a slight in any way, its just that people that did not play PC games back when Steam was new, can easily fail to see how revolutionary it was, and how much of a shitshow PC gaming was at the time in regards to patches. Even Console gamers from that time period were used to auto patches and persistent friends lists.
 

Krenum

[H]F Junkie
Joined
Apr 29, 2005
Messages
16,088
I am sure that Steam just popped into the market in the state it is in. Full of wonderfulness and unicorns.
Actually, yes. I don't remember Steam ever having any problems at launch. For its time we all thought it was revolutionary, we had friends lists, voice chat, text chat & were able to download our games directly to our computers, although that wasn't used very often because when it first launched we were still buying physical games, which were still in abundance.
 

wizdum

[H]ard|Gawd
Joined
Sep 22, 2010
Messages
1,943
Actually, yes. I don't remember Steam ever having any problems at launch.
Well, there was that time that the Friends list was borked for like 2 years, but when they finally brought it back, it was basically in the state that it is in now. It was also significantly better than everything else that existed at the time.
 

Krenum

[H]F Junkie
Joined
Apr 29, 2005
Messages
16,088
Well, there was that time that the Friends list was borked for like 2 years, but when they finally brought it back, it was basically in the state that it is in now. It was also significantly better than everything else that existed at the time.
Yeah....Remember Gamespy? lol.
 

Delicieuxz

[H]ard|Gawd
Joined
May 11, 2016
Messages
1,159
Last time I mentioned that it was a better deal for developers during the Metro Exodus release I got shouted down by the Steam mafia. Looks like more than one developer agrees with me though.
I never understood the worship of Steam..... It’s a store and Valve is a developer. What was the last good title Valve put out? How many games are licensing their engine because it’s the best and not just because of the discounts you get for using it then selling the game through the Steam store? Valve was doing great stuff for a while then the money came in and they got lazy, now I don’t see any difference between Valve and EA for all they do.
I never understood the worship of Steam..... It’s a store and Valve is a developer. What was the last good title Valve put out? How many games are licensing their engine because it’s the best and not just because of the discounts you get for using it then selling the game through the Steam store? Valve was doing great stuff for a while then the money came in and they got lazy, now I don’t see any difference between Valve and EA for all they do.
Since when did the criticism of Epic paying for exclusives become simply about games not being on Steam? I thought it was more about the negative anti-competition and anti-consumer practice of paid-for exclusives, Epic's absence of any features on their platform, Epic's security issues, and how Metro Exodus was yanked off of Steam right before release without warning and after using Steam as an advertisement platform.

Also, Steam is not just 'a store' - it's, by far, the most feature-comprehensive, refined, and reliable store, with a consumer-friendly developer behind it. Saying it's just 'a store' like any other is like pretending GFWL, Desura, and other digital games stores didn't disappear and leave loads of people unable to play their games.

Where you buy games from matters, if you care about your long-term access to them. Not every store gives 2 craps about your interest in the games you purchased and what happens to your games if or when their store goes away. That's why I try to only buy games from Steam and GoG. Epic's business practices so far are not building consumer confidence, IMO.


All this shit with multiple launchers happens because Microsoft could not get their own shit together all these years and make Windows THE gaming platform with their own GAME market where all developers could sell directly. It could be done and MS could afford not to charge more than 5-7% commission....but now its late and they lost the opportunity to command the desktop gaming market.
Having a Microsoft-controlled PC gaming market is a nightmare scenario that has been (hopefully) thwarted with the failure of UWP.

Microsoft is a psychopathic and thuggish corporation that steals data about your every move in Windows 10 to sell it for profit. Microsoft and pretty much any other company would charge far more than the 30% Steam set the bar at back in 2003 or whenever. Publishers used to take 65% to 90%+ of a game's profits before Valve started Steam with a 30% fee.
 

aaronspink

2[H]4U
Joined
Jun 7, 2004
Messages
2,122
I am sure that Steam just popped into the market in the state it is in. Full of wonderfulness and unicorns. Competition is good.
Hey guess what, late movers have to compete with incumbents and don't get a pass for bad software. Epic is a bad store that has significant issues. Steam works. You know why no one actually cares what Steam was like when it released? Cause that was closer to TWO DECADES ago than ONE DECADE ago.
 

ScottSummers79

Weaksauce
Joined
Jun 6, 2017
Messages
70
Simple resolution - put it on both, charge more for Steam. No exclusivity, and people can buy it where they want. Sometimes I buy from Newegg, sometimes from Best Buy, sometimes from Amazon - but all three of them sell the same thing at different prices and I don't always buy from where it's the cheapest. I buy from the one that has what I want at a price I'm willing to pay and will get it in my hands in the time I need it, and if that means paying more at Best Buy, then that's what it means. If it means getting the cheapest price, but I can wait a week for it, then it's going to be Newegg.

The day Asus sells their halo motherboard at one of those shops exclusively is the day I no longer look at Asus motherboards. It's not *always* about the raw price, sometimes convenience is worth paying more.

Also, it has *got* to be less effort to say 'Hey, it's more expensive on Steam than it is on Epic because Valve takes more of the cut so we need to price it higher.' than to try and defend exclusivity on a platform that has never embraced it when there's no reason for it (other than likely a phat check cashed from Fortnite bucks).
 
Joined
Mar 18, 2013
Messages
3,587
Last time I mentioned that it was a better deal for developers during the Metro Exodus release I got shouted down by the Steam mafia. Looks like more than one developer agrees with me though.
I'm not a fan of exclusivity at all, but if this is what it takes for competition to get a foothold then I'll grit my teeth for a while.

If this becomes a continuing and growing trend... Fuck this console style shit.
 

ChoGGi

[H]ard|Gawd
Joined
May 7, 2005
Messages
1,508
Actually, yes. I don't remember Steam ever having any problems at launch.
It had issues at launch. I was on the beta version for a couple months? (which worked fine) till CSS came out, once the actual release happened it started having problems (I assume too many people).
 

filip

2[H]4U
Joined
Aug 15, 2012
Messages
2,259
Bad marketing move should have just released on both platforms and made the price cheaper on EPIC, then people could try out the other platform, see it is not bad, and use logic instead of behavior to make a purchase.
 

wizdum

[H]ard|Gawd
Joined
Sep 22, 2010
Messages
1,943
Bad marketing move should have just released on both platforms and made the price cheaper on EPIC, then people could try out the other platform, see it is not bad, and use logic instead of behavior to make a purchase.
This I can agree with. It may take people longer to move to their store this way, but it also forces them to come up with a better reason besides "we told everyone else to F-Off".

I mean, I just found out that UPlay doesn't even offer giftcards. I wanted to gift a family member some money for The Division 2 or Far Cry, without just handing them cash (because its difficult for them to leave the house due to a disability), and I can't. Its a literal store that requires a credit card for every transaction. It offers nothing over just going to Gamestop, other than you're forced to use it for Ubisoft games.
 

Lakados

2[H]4U
Joined
Feb 3, 2014
Messages
2,614
How long have you been a gamer? A lot of it I think is due to loyalty from "the good old days". Valve put a lot of effort into making Steam a revolutionary platform at the time. Being able to forget the multiple DVD installation disks, going to the publisher's website to download patches, horrendous server browsers, multiple third party chat/friend's lists that barely integrated with anything, mod support that was more "hope and prayer". They addressed a lot of the big issues from almost day 1 with allowing Offline Play, and not uniquely encrypting downloads (meaning, you can just copy game files from one computer to another, run a small <1MB update, and play). This was a big deal when the average internet connection in my area was 500kb/124kb.

As a broke high school student, the mod scene was huge for my social group. We bought the Orang Box, and instantly had access to 100's of free mods that were 1 click away, and in many cases had more content than the crap that AAA publishers are peddling today. The loyalty was well earned, and I wouldn't put them on the same tier as EA yet. I agree that is has faded a lot over the years though.

EDIT: And I don't mean that as a slight in any way, its just that people that did not play PC games back when Steam was new, can easily fail to see how revolutionary it was, and how much of a shitshow PC gaming was at the time in regards to patches. Even Console gamers from that time period were used to auto patches and persistent friends lists.
Installed my first game in 87 on an 8088, I am trying to remember the first game I bought and installed that basically forced me to install Steam, I don’t remember the game but I do remember thinking “Why the hell do I have to install this crap I just want to play the game”. I never really got into steam, I would buy physical media I lived and worked in remote places so internet was garbage at best. So yeah my earliest steam memories are me buying discs, to have them install/update steam, to download huge (at the time) installs on garbage internet that took days. Crisis, Total War Shogun, a few others come to mind. But yeah so I suppose I have always just seen it as a means to and end one that I didn’t always want.
 

odditory

Supreme [H]ardness
Joined
Dec 23, 2007
Messages
6,426
I'm not a fan of exclusivity at all, but if this is what it takes for competition to get a foothold then I'll grit my teeth for a while.

If this becomes a continuing and growing trend... Fuck this console style shit.
Except what Epic is doing isn't creating competition. For all the yammering about "Steam being a monopoly", Valve has never paid publishers to remove games from other stores. Epic is, however, and they're trying to create an actual monopoly where you can only buy certain games at their store. Nothing stopping them from doing that in perpetuity the bigger they get.

Competing with Steam is more nuanced than trying to buy up exclusives. Because they're also creating negative mindshare and potential customers that will just boycott them for life. MS learned this with the awful Windows 10 Store -- that too was polarizing. If a company wants to compete with Steam, then being polarizing creates an insane headwind.

Epic has gone about things completely ass backwards. Instead of bribing publishers they should have used their Fortnite moneybags to make a kick ass Store client that was ready for primetime on day one (first impressions matter).
 
Last edited:

odditory

Supreme [H]ardness
Joined
Dec 23, 2007
Messages
6,426
Then if Valve took a smaller cut then this wouldn't be an issue, but they don't 30% is a big number, so you could flip that around and say we are only in this boat because Valve wants more for themselves and less for everyone else.
Flaw in that argument is even if Valve's store fee was 0%, Epic would want their own store exactly the same. Epic's whole "our store charges less than Valve" is PR babble and ultimately a red herring, since profits aren't just a function of margin but also of volume. A game will make far more total profit on Steam than Epic, which totally negates the 18% delta in profit split between the two stores many times over - like hundreds or thousands of times over.

Thus the World War Z dev statement about "we went to Epic cuz its 88% instead of 70% rah rah" is just PR nonsense, since I assume he is capable of the basic math found in 4th graders to know better. He can't simply admit "yeah we took a bribe and simple as that" because bad PR.
 
Last edited:
Top