Monday, September 23rd 2019

Exclusivity Costs: EPIC Games Store's Control Cost $10.5 million to Become PC Exclusive

Control is one of the better single player releases of this year already, and has been enough of a success for Remedy and 505 Games to launch a content roadmap stretching all the way to 2020. The game is being served on PC exclusively through the EPIC Games Store, which, besides offering developers higher revenues than Steam, has also launched an all-out campaign to secure high-profile exclusives such as Control and Metro: Exodus (even if some of them are timed exclusives).

Now, an Italian earnings report from 505 games highlights that the developers received a lump, $10.5 million upfront from EPIC; according to the report, "Revenue comes from the computer version of Control (...) The game was released on August 27 but the structure of the marketplace who requested the PC exclusivity has made possible to gain the revenue starting from this quarter." It appears EPIC is offering a safety net for developers in exchange for the exclusivity deals, paying upfront the amount of revenue developers expect to receive from the games' sales throughout the PC platform. In this case, the $10.5 million correspond to a total of 200,000 individual sales of Control. Until that number is achieved, EPIC keeps the full revenue from every sale. Any units sold starting from 200,000, and the revenue is split between the developer and EPIC. It's a win-win, really: EPIC gets more and more traction and publicity on its store, and developers guarantee they get the minimum amount they'd expect to earn by selling the game across the full spectrum of PC marketplaces.
Source: Ars Technica
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119 Comments on Exclusivity Costs: EPIC Games Store's Control Cost $10.5 million to Become PC Exclusive

#51
Vayra86
FordGT90Concept, post: 4121451, member: 60463"
Unreal Engine isn't Epic's goal. Making sure good games make it to market and everyone that contributed get their dues is Epic's goal. Developers put years of their blood sweat and tears into games, only to have it release on Steam with a hundred other competitors and get diddly squat for sales and whatever they do manage to sell, Valve runs away with 30% for the pleasure of getting robbed.

EGS confronted these problems with many, simultaneous strategies:
1) Curation: they will not accept shovelware (which is rampant on Steam).
2) 12% share, waiving the 5% UE4 share if you're using that engine: Sweeney sees the industry standard of 30% as stifling.
3) Exclusivity contract: protection against bad launches, helps developers get the game across the finish line, provides a marketing budget for publishers, helps promote EGS.


Keep in mind that Discord launched a game store that matches EGS in #1 and #2...but not #3. #3 is what made EGS a competitive platform in a short timeframe. It's attractive to publishers big and small because Sweeney knows the game market we're in better than Discord. Valve should know better but GabeN is sipping wine from atop his mountain of cash and he couldn't care less what sort of misery the ants below are wallowing in as long as the mountain continues to grow.
Well let's not overreact. I'm sure Sweeney has some vision in his gut about gaming, but you can rest assured EGS's goal is not 'to make great games possible'. Their goal is, still, to make money, and they are looking for ventures to do so. This was, in hindsight, the very obvious one. Valve could be caught by surprise and digital distribution had major profit margins to exploit.

The whole win-win situation with devs and 'good games' surely came later. Its not what the business case rides on, anyway. Its just how it gets supported and maintained, and how it gets explained to us.

Unreal Engine in fact did push a similar button for devs, enabling them more easily with its business model. Epic's true goal, ever since they opened UE is to get a piece of the pie from stuff others produce. Not too different from Valve/Steam at all... so again, let's not portray Sweeney as the New Gabe. Its just yet another middle man, albeit a cheaper one.

laszlo, post: 4121493, member: 6256"
i like the approach

maker get the money in advance so can fund another project without having in mind the critical part of their businesses- is the game selling well?

is easier to work having the next project funded from the start vs checking how the game sell and waiting incomes from sales drop by drop....

i see it like a compromise even if means that only one store will sale the game; maybe in the future they'll change this and developer can sell on other stores also after reaching a number of sold games f.ex.4-500000 or when sales drop drastically (after the agreed 200000)
Is it really a compromise though. Everywhere, like literally everywhere in business do you see exclusivity in all shapes and sizes. From having a special color pants to socks with unique print, to...you name it. And what do we do when we see an item they ONLY sell at store Y? We visit store Y and buy it.

I'm still struggling to understand why this is seen as 'forced exclusive' within gaming, and how its somehow a problem all of a sudden... But I'm a strange guy.
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#52
moproblems99
Vayra86, post: 4121596, member: 152404"
But I'm a strange guy.
Not entirely.

Vayra86, post: 4121596, member: 152404"
I'm still struggling to understand why this is seen as 'forced exclusive' within gaming, and how its somehow a problem all of a sudden...
The whole brand of "gamer" has been built up to instill a feeling of elitism and speciality. Look at the silly flashy designs and RGB that proliferates as well as marketing blurb like "uncompromising" blah blah blah. They have set out to attract a very specific group. Steam knows them well too
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#53
oxidized
FordGT90Concept, post: 4121451, member: 60463"
Making sure good games make it to market and everyone that contributed get their dues is Epic's goal.
Ahah this made my day, good games such as?
Posted on Reply
#54
moproblems99
oxidized, post: 4121699, member: 170038"
Ahah this made my day, good games such as?
Super Mario Brothers franchise, Sonic the Hedgehog (they were specifically responsible for Tails), and many others. They actually laid the first blocks for Tetris.
Posted on Reply
#55
FordGT90Concept
"I go fast!1!11!1!"
oxidized, post: 4121699, member: 170038"
Ahah this made my day, good games such as?
Rebel Galaxy: Outlaw, Satisfactory, Phoenix Point, Shenmue III
Posted on Reply
#56
kapone32
FordGT90Concept, post: 4121758, member: 60463"
Rebel Galaxy: Outlaw, Satisfactory, Phoenix Point, Shenmue III
+1 on Sheumue III
Posted on Reply
#57
moproblems99
FordGT90Concept, post: 4121758, member: 60463"
Rebel Galaxy: Outlaw, Satisfactory, Phoenix Point, Shenmue III
Satisfactory was deceptively fun.
Posted on Reply
#58
oxidized
FordGT90Concept, post: 4121758, member: 60463"
Rebel Galaxy: Outlaw, Satisfactory, Phoenix Point, Shenmue III
moproblems99, post: 4121708, member: 155919"
Super Mario Brothers franchise, Sonic the Hedgehog (they were specifically responsible for Tails), and many others. They actually laid the first blocks for Tetris.
Shenmue 3 aka the game of the infamous backstab. Anyway i expected you were going to say Borderlands 3 Control Metro Exodus, and stuff of such caliber.
Epic didn't play anything particular role in this other than bribing to make them accept their policies, those good games could've launched on steam and have 5 times the playerbase they have on EGS.
Posted on Reply
#59
moproblems99
oxidized, post: 4121776, member: 170038"
those good games could've launched on steam and have 5 times the playerbase they have on EGS.
You know, I had been searching for numbers and just couldn't find them. Could you help a bruhtha out?
Posted on Reply
#60
oxidized
moproblems99, post: 4121786, member: 155919"
You know, I had been searching for numbers and just couldn't find them. Could you help a bruhtha out?
Look better and use logic this time.
Posted on Reply
#61
rtwjunkie
PC Gaming Enthusiast
oxidized, post: 4121776, member: 170038"
Epic didn't play anything particular role in this other than bribing to make them accept their policies, those good games could've launched on steam and have 5 times the playerbase they have on EGS.
Apparently you missed the in-depth explanation by @FordGT90Concept about how this works on the exclusives. That plus the dollar amounts released show a successful game.

If you have different sales numbers please do share, because obviously a large number of people would rather play Control than play a gaming store/launcher. Games are nearly always more fun than a launcher. And any conjecture of how successful the game would be outside of EGS is just that: conjecture.
Posted on Reply
#62
moproblems99
oxidized, post: 4121811, member: 170038"
Look better and use logic this time.
Hmmmm, I looked again for sales numbers for Satisfactory and I couldn't find anything up to date or definitive. I did see that it sold over 500000 copies though in three months. So would say then that it would have sold 2.5 million copies on steam?
Posted on Reply
#63
FordGT90Concept
"I go fast!1!11!1!"
More like 50,000 on Steam, and that's if it's lucky. Steam is crowded. Nothing stands out on Steam unless the gaze of lord GabeN (storefront advert) falls upon it.
Posted on Reply
#64
moproblems99
I find it interesting with some of these sales figures coming out exactly how small the minority is of people that are protesting is or how large the number of people trumpeting disgust and are then quietly buying games from egs. I suspect the latter.

If people would sit down and take egs for what it is (help for developers) then they could realize how silly their charade is.
Posted on Reply
#65
oxidized
rtwjunkie, post: 4121814, member: 56774"
Apparently you missed the in-depth explanation by @FordGT90Concept about how this works on the exclusives. That plus the dollar amounts released show a successful game.

If you have different sales numbers please do share, because obviously a large number of people would rather play Control than play a gaming store/launcher. Games are nearly always more fun than a launcher. And any conjecture of how successful the game would be outside of EGS is just that: conjecture.
I don't trust the number Epic talks about, never because Epic cannot be trusted, and nor all the Developer teams and/or Software houses that accepted the bribe and exclusively sell on EGS. The bribe doesn't take into account copies sold.

moproblems99, post: 4121815, member: 155919"
Hmmmm, I looked again for sales numbers for Satisfactory and I couldn't find anything up to date or definitive. I did see that it sold over 500000 copies though in three months. So would say then that it would have sold 2.5 million copies on steam?
I said logic, not satisfactory, Steam userbase is 10 times if not more that of EGS, and 3/4 of it is Fortnite only players, while indie lovers like to buy mostly on Steam or GOG, here's logic.

FordGT90Concept, post: 4121819, member: 60463"
More like 50,000 on Steam, and that's if it's lucky. Steam is crowded. Nothing stands out on Steam unless the gaze of lord GabeN (storefront advert) falls upon it.
Yeah, read above...Talking about Gaben's gaze. when your boy Timmy Tencent refuses indie dev's games who refused their bribe, like it happened with DARQ.

moproblems99, post: 4121828, member: 155919"
If people would sit down and take egs for what it is (help for developers) then they could realize how silly their charade is.
Developers need to help themselves by making good titles, like it was before, we need meritocracy, not bribes, and if developers can't make it because they sold poorly it's on them, they weren't capable to be of interest enough to be successful and make good revenue.
Posted on Reply
#66
FordGT90Concept
"I go fast!1!11!1!"
oxidized, post: 4121836, member: 170038"
Yeah, read above...Talking about Gaben's gaze. when your boy Timmy Tencent refuses indie dev's games who refused their bribe, like it happened with DARQ.
I believe less than 10% of the games on EGS had an exclusivity contract and that number keeps shrinking. None of the games EGS gave away for free (that's six right now, nevermind the dozens before that), for example, had an exclusivity contract.
Posted on Reply
#67
moproblems99
oxidized, post: 4121836, member: 170038"
I don't trust the number Epic talks about, never because Epic cannot be trusted, and nor all the Developer teams and/or Software houses that accepted the bribe and exclusively sell on EGS. The bribe doesn't take into account copies sold.
Well, produce some good figures then. Because I don't trust a random person the webz.

oxidized, post: 4121836, member: 170038"
I said logic, not satisfactory, Steam userbase is 10 times if not more that of EGS, and 3/4 of it is Fortnite only players, while indie lovers like to buy mostly on Steam or GOG, here's logic.
Well, logic also tells me if Indie players like to buy on Steam and Steam was doing well for them they wouldn't be looking for alternatives. Right?

oxidized, post: 4121836, member: 170038"
Developers need to help themselves by making good titles, like it was before, we need meritocracy, not bribes, and if developers can't make it because they sold poorly it's on them, they weren't capable to be of interest enough to be successful and make good revenue.
So do tell. How do you generate interest? Hope someone can find it through 500,000 other titles on Steam that generally only have AAA titles on the front page? Pay obscene money for advertising on TV and what not. Oh yeah, all that advertising money just prevented them from actually being able to finish the game. Not make it 'good'.
Posted on Reply
#68
oxidized
moproblems99, post: 4121851, member: 155919"
Well, produce some good figures then. Because I don't trust a random person the webz.
*shrugs*

moproblems99, post: 4121851, member: 155919"
Well, logic also tells me if Indie players like to buy on Steam and Steam was doing well for them they wouldn't be looking for alternatives. Right?
And where did you get that? 95% of indie lovers are on Steam and GOG.

moproblems99, post: 4121851, member: 155919"
So do tell. How do you generate interest? Hope someone can find it through 500,000 other titles on Steam that generally only have AAA titles on the front page? Pay obscene money for advertising on TV and what not. Oh yeah, all that advertising money just prevented them from actually being able to finish the game. Not make it 'good'.
Don't ask me, i'm no game developer, but i can distinguish between good and bad videogames. I found different interesting indie titles through the front page, besides indie lovers go look for those games, and spend much time doing so. What makes bad a videogame is not the lack of money, but lack of good ideas and poor programming skills.
Posted on Reply
#69
moproblems99
oxidized, post: 4121864, member: 170038"
And where did you get that? 95% of indie lovers are on Steam and GOG.
In the same links that I found that those same 95% of indie lovers have viewed games on Epic.

oxidized, post: 4121864, member: 170038"
What makes bad a videogame is not the lack of money, but lack of good ideas and poor programming skills.
Oh that's right, I forgot. People with good ideas and good programming skills work for free. Silly me.
Posted on Reply
#70
oxidized
moproblems99, post: 4121867, member: 155919"
In the same links that I found that those same 95% of indie lovers have viewed games on Epic.
Nice, didn't know Fortnite was an indie title!
moproblems99, post: 4121867, member: 155919"
Oh that's right, I forgot. People with good ideas and good programming skills work for free. Silly me.
So you try to be funny, and at the same time you make no sense, ok.
It's not like that paying more programmers or designers will make their brain instantly gain skills or even new ideas, so yeah, silly you, definitely.
Posted on Reply
#71
moproblems99
oxidized, post: 4121872, member: 170038"
Nice, didn't know Fortnite was an indie title!
Odd, I was unaware that was the only title they had.

oxidized, post: 4121872, member: 170038"
So you try to be funny, and at the same time you make no sense, ok.
It's not like that paying more programmers or designer will make their brain instantly gain skills or even new ideas, so yeah, silly you, definitely.
Not trying to be funny. Think about what actually has to happen. Games aren't made by hiring a bunch of people, throwing them into a room and figuring it out as they go. Games are planned for months or years in advanced. Lots of technical decisions are made, including engine decisions, long before programming starts. Guess what else needs to be figured out? Advertising. If the company has to spend 20%, 30%, or even 50% of their budget on advertising, guess what they can hire less of? Quality personnel. That means story writers, artists, and yes, even programmers.

Now, Epic comes in and says: "Hey, we are going to take all the risk of developing this game away. All you need to do is sit down and hire the best people and focus on making a great game."

Assuming you have a job, if you have the opportunity to take all the stress, risk, and other shit that you likely aren't good at, would you take it? I sure as shit would.
Posted on Reply
#72
oxidized
moproblems99, post: 4121895, member: 155919"
Odd, I was unaware that was the only title they had.
It's surely what 90% of its userbase plays only, probably even more than that.

moproblems99, post: 4121895, member: 155919"
Not trying to be funny. Think about what actually has to happen. Games aren't made by hiring a bunch of people, throwing them into a room and figuring it out as they go. Games are planned for months or years in advanced. Lots of technical decisions are made, including engine decisions, long before programming starts. Guess what else needs to be figured out? Advertising. If the company has to spend 20%, 30%, or even 50% of their budget on advertising, guess what they can hire less of? Quality personnel. That means story writers, artists, and yes, even programmers.

Now, Epic comes in and says: "Hey, we are going to take all the risk of developing this game away. All you need to do is sit down and hire the best people and focus on making a great game."

Assuming you have a job, if you have the opportunity to take all the stress, risk, and other shit that you likely aren't good at, would you take it? I sure as shit would.
...And you're not even trying! Fantastic. Games nowadays are made exactly that way, since the quality they have is so low i wouldn't really think there's that much of discussion and planning behind, because otherwise it's even worse, nobody has quality personnel, or if they do they're not something they pay incredibly higher than the others, it's not like experienced or good developers are rockstars or football players, with the job comes also dedication in this industry, and whoever makes videogames needs to like what they're doing in order to do a good job, it's not like another common job, they're actually artists, but if they don't behave like artists what's left? Nothing.
Oh well i didn't know quality of videogames was directly tied to how much money there is, maybe because it's not, and AAA titles from the last decade (actually even more) are proof of that.
Posted on Reply
#73
moproblems99
oxidized, post: 4121928, member: 170038"
It's surely what 90% of its userbase plays only, probably even more than that.


...And you're not even trying! Fantastic. Games nowadays are made exactly that way, since the quality they have is so low i wouldn't really think there's that much of discussion and planning behind, because otherwise it's even worse, nobody has quality personnel, or if they do they're not something they pay incredibly higher than the others, it's not like experienced or good developers are rockstars or football players, with the job comes also dedication in this industry, and whoever makes videogames needs to like what they're doing in order to do a good job, it's not like another common job, they're actually artists, but if they don't behave like artists what's left? Nothing.
Oh well i didn't know quality of videogames was directly tied to how much money there is, maybe because it's not, and AAA titles from the last decade (actually even more) are proof of that.
I see you don't understand software development. No shame in that. Yes quality is the first to get cut because budgets and timelines are usually fixed . +1 to Epic for fixing the budget crunch.

And for AAA budgets, guess what much of that is? Yep, advertising.
Posted on Reply
#74
oxidized
moproblems99, post: 4121944, member: 155919"
I see you don't understand software development. No shame in that. Yes quality is the first to get cut because budgets and timelines are usually fixed . +1 to Epic for fixing the budget crunch.

And for AAA budgets, guess what much of that is? Yep, advertising.
I'm not sure what planet you're on but that doesn't sound like earth. You got it all twisted, quality is something you don't just cut, and add at will, if there's no quality you might want to overhaul the entire project and who takes part to it. ROFL Epic fixing budget crunch, Epic's money aren't helping any quality, they're only helping developer's greed and indifference.

Yeah everything goes to advertising, go sleep man you're making no sense, AAA titles suck because they want to sell to the masses and put close to no effort in particulars, contents, polishing and testing - advertising changes little for sagas that everyone knows they only need a regular amount, and that doesn't cost nearly as close as the costs of production for the thing.
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#75
moproblems99
oxidized, post: 4121958, member: 170038"
I'm not sure what planet you're on but that doesn't sound like earth. You got it all twisted, quality is something you don't just cut, and add at will, if there's no quality you might want to overhaul the entire project and who takes part to it. ROFL Epic fixing budget crunch, Epic's money aren't helping any quality, they're only helping developer's greed and indifference.

Yeah everything goes to advertising, go sleep man you're making no sense, AAA titles suck because they want to sell to the masses and put close to no effort in particulars, contents, polishing and testing - advertising changes little for sagas that everyone knows they only need a regular amount, and that doesn't cost nearly as close as the costs of production for the thing.
I think you need to study the fundamentals of software development seeing as no reasonable statement seems to resonate. Eventually you'll figure out the real world is tough and generally not idealistic.
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