Not too long ago, the Epic Games Store celebrated its first year of launch. Exclusives, free to play, and the fight against Steam that brings the Valve store back to life. Looking back to reflect on how the first year of the Epic Games Store went. After a year of development, Valve should be grateful for the Epic Games store. And not because the epics kicked them out of the market, oh no, it didn't, but because Steam was able to strengthen its position.
Rich library just like that
Initially, Epics' main trump card was the ratio of the percentage of royalties for distribution. As I said last year, 12% of the commission for the developer and the publisher, compared with 30% from Valv, is just manna from heaven, and throughout the year there were interviews of certain developers who only confirmed that this was a good enough offer to agree .
Also right after the release, Epic Games embarked on an exclusive tactic that would also lead the audience. Not too big, but still. While many were offended that the exclusivity simply forces you to buy a game from an epic store like Metro: Exodus, it still worked.
But we underestimated the aggression of the epics. After all, they started giving away games for free. You might not have spent a dime, and at the moment your library may contain about 70 games.
Epic Games kicked off the year by giving away one game every two weeks. Then in June he switched to free play every week. Then it became for a short time two games a week. And at the end of the year, in honor of the sale, in general, we received one game every day, and as a result, your library could be replenished with another 12 games. And the main thing is that most of these games were not garbage, but rather bold projects: Subnotica, Metro 2033 Redux, Alan Wake, Soma, Observer, Mutant Year Zero, Stories Untold and my favorite - the entire Batman Arkham series [except Batman Arkham Origin] and the Lego Batman Trilogy.
A year later, it is not known how often we will see this. After all, it was a hell of a marathon, which Epic Store compensated for 15 years of Steam development.
Buy only from us
Steam has always been an icon for PC players as it has been associated with this platform. And if something came out on the PC, it definitely came from Steam. So what's the logical move in this war of stores? Make sure that incentive games just don't come out. As if by magic, when we got angry at the exclusivity of the already mentioned Metro: Exodus, and a couple of other projects, almost all cool games became exclusives in the Epic Store.
Epic did the most damage by blocking the 2019 release calendar. They put a lot of money into this venture. Many of my favorite games of this year, both large and small, have debuted on epic showcases: Outer Wilds, The Outer Worlds, Control, The Division 2, Borderlands 3, and so on, there are over 50 projects. Even more, they were able to get Quantic Dream games released on PC, and this is already a whole new level.
Did it work? I guess it's yes. It is difficult to understand without specific sales figures. We know that the Epic Games Store has 85 million accounts, and that 40% of all people who have an account are not registered on Steam. Very impressive. It's hard today to be a PC player and not use Steam, so you could say that they've found a whole new audience from somewhere. I wouldn't be surprised if these are just Fortnite players and nothing more.
Perhaps the best proof of the store's exceptional performance is the fact that Epic continues to close deals. There are even rumors that some of these deals are worth over $ 10 million, it's hard to imagine Epic spending that kind of money without expecting it to come back. And the studio continues to conclude them, despite negative comments from people condemning them for doing business this way.
Another significant moment is the monthly exclusivity of Red Dead Redemption II, which was released on Epics on November 5, and on Steam only on December 5.
The Gabin store recorded more than 11,000 people online, as opposed to 104,000 during the launch of GTA 5. And this despite the fact that the release of cowboy action was expected no less.
From this we can conclude that no matter how loudly the supporters of Steam shout, claiming that from the principle there will be nothing to play, if it does not come out in it - they are in the minority.
Resurrection Steam or the enemy of my enemy is my friend
As for me, the Epic Store was able to do what everyone expected of it - pushed Valve off the monopolist throne. He was shaken so well and it led to the creation of some amazing alliances.
First of all, these are Microsoft and Valve. Gaben dislikes Microsoft so much that Valve has created its own Linux-based operating system. Microsoft is responding in kind by making its Xbox One and PC games exclusive in its store. And yet, in early December, the Halo remaster topped the list of most played games on Steam, and peaked at 123,000 online players.
This was Microsoft's third major release on Steam in 2019 after Gears 5 and Age of Empires II: Definitive Edition, and I think this alliance will grow stronger in the future.
But the most surprising thing is the EA and Valve tandem. EA was the first major publisher to ditch Steam, and arguably the only one to be successful. Relatively successful, but at least they did not die after a few months, like many other stores.
I'm not giving you a secret if I tell you that no one likes Origin, at least from the moment it launched in 2011 until today it is simply tolerated. EA tried to move out using Netflix-style subscription services, first with EA Access on Xbox and then Origin Access on PC. But it didn't work out. And at the end of October, EA announced that it would return to Steam - first with the major Jedi: Fallen Order, and then with Apex Legends, The Sims 4, Battlefield V and other games. No one rules out that in the future EA will also provide an Origin Access subscription for Steam, the first for the Valve platform.
Would the wall have come down without the Epics and their store?
Steam also began to change in appearance. First, it received a significant library update for the first time in the last 6-7 years. Valve has also added experimental new features several times, Steam Labs and Steam Remote Play, released Dota Underlords, and announced Half-Life: Alyx. And the last two sales were good, to be honest.
Again, a lot of this was in development prior to the launch of the Epic Games Store. However, it's hard not to feel like Epic helped rush Valve.
Not the end
Now that both companies are on a level playing field, this confrontation will intensify this year. But despite a great first year on the Epic Games Store, there were plenty of downsides.
When launching the store, they missed many important functions, even they did not enter the search immediately. In order to compensate for this, the epics created a development map and made it publicly available so that users can see when to expect an update. But with this they shot themselves in the foot, since they could not introduce all the functions that they had planned in the right time frame, publicly showing that they did not cope. For example, cloud saves, time spent in the game counters, filters for games - all this was introduced with a delay.
Hell, even a month ago you couldn't even see how much disk space most of your installed games were taking up.
The Wishlist was originally slated for the summer, but Epic only showed it off for the first time in October, and it hasn't officially launched yet. Achievements so far seem to be as distant dreams as they were in December last year, as does the controversial support for mods.
Looking back at this original development map, it now seems ridiculously optimistic. And yet it is difficult not to realize that the store must develop further and further. After all, even people like me, who have nothing against him, are unhappy with the lack of basic functions. Another minus, as for me, is still higher prices for epics.
To be continued
The past year has been exciting. Epic has laid a solid foundation for the future and has funneled a lot of money for developers. If we ever get Control 2 or another Metro, chances are Epic's money has something to do with it. Meanwhile EA is back to Steam, Microsoft is back to Steam, and Valve is more active than in the past few years.
Epic Games and Steam will lead each other to new heights.
The Topic of Article: Epic Games Store's Year of Struggle: How Games Got Better for All.