Monday, June 15th 2020

Has The Epic Games Store Helped or Hindered the PC Gaming Market?

When Epic Games launched the Epic Games Store back in December 2018 most people wrote it off as a glorified Fortnite launcher which could never compete with Steam's reach and features. While the Epic Games Store is still lacking in features compared to Steam it has come a long way since it's launch slowly adding in new features.

The Epic Games Store surprised many when it offered Subnautica for completely free on the store and so began the tradition of the Epic Games Store's weekly game giveaways which have given away over 100 different games in the last 18 months. While pursuing this strategy of game giveaways to attract new users to the platform Epic Games also secured many exclusives for the launcher which wasn't nearly as well received.
The Epic Games Store has given away roughly 110 games since it's launch with a total value of 2298 USD RRP or 668 USD based on the lowest recorded sale price. When analyzing all the games given away it is interesting to see that most had previously been on sale for under 10 USD with just over half of the games going on sale for under 5 USD. When looking at the data we can see Epic Games isn't slowing down with the two recent giveaways of Civilization VI, and Grand Theft Auto V being some of the highest value games offered.

While the Epic Games Launcher has arguably upended a very complacent market with their free game giveaways it also employed the extremely unpopular strategy of launcher exclusive games such as with Metro Exodus. The Epic Games Store now holds over 100 exclusives and 30 more in the pipeline which limits competition and locks consumers into their platform.

What do you think, has Epic Games done more good with their free game giveaways or hurt the industry with exclusivity deals?

You can view the full table of games below:
Sources: Pro Game Guides, IsThereAnyDeal
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105 Comments on Has The Epic Games Store Helped or Hindered the PC Gaming Market?

#1
FordGT90Concept
"I go fast!1!11!1!"
Publishers get paid for the giveaways and they wouldn't do it if it antagonistic to their business model.

EGS has been great for the digital distribution industry which has been stagnant since ~2014.


Edit: That image is way too high of a resolution.
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#2
londiste
Despite all of the controversy, Epic has definitely brought some fresh air to the market. I hate more launchers as much as anyone but market monopolized by Steam is not exactly the best way forward either.
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#3
R0H1T
Free games are nice, everything else ~ not so much.
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#4
lynx29
FordGT90Concept
Publishers get paid for the giveaways and they wouldn't do it if it antagonistic to their business model.

EGS has been great for the digital distribution industry which has been stagnant since ~2014.


Edit: That image is way too high of a resolution.
Agreed 100%. I have claimed every week of EGS free games since they started doing, I got some really nice gems in my library over there and I haven't spent a penny. That being said, I do have my eye on some EGS exclusives "coming soon" section, so I might spend a little money there now.

The EGS app is def outdated as hell though, I used it a few times now... it's def not as smooth or feature rich as Steam or Uplay.
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#5
cryohellinc
Helped, of course, Steam monopoly is never a good thing. Simply the bad side of this is that EGS gives free games, which devalues the whole platform out of the box - as most of people won't buy something, instead they would simply wait for the next free title or just pirate it. Bad decision.

All this cash that went into "free" offers, should have gone to various studios to develop exclusives of actually High Quality, instead we several good projects, while the majority of exclusives are poor.

Additionally, no modding support and no customer reviews is a major drawback. If this will be fixed, EGS can become a very strong competitor.

Overall, EGS chose the wrong approach IMO. The idea is good, the execution is bad. They have brought a lot of good titles for the PC platform, as a result strengthening it. However, if you want to actually compete with Steam, you need to offer better or at least same level of features. Transparency and flexibility is the way to go.
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#6
lynx29
cryohellinc
Helped, of course, Steam monopoly is never a good thing. Simply the bad side of this is that EGS gives free games, which devalues the whole platform out of the box - as most of people won't buy something, instead they would simply wait for the next free title or just pirate it. Bad decision.

All this cash that went into "free" offers, should have gone to various studios to develop exclusives of actually High Quality, instead we several good projects, while the majority of exclusives are poor.

Additionally, no modding support and no customer reviews is a major drawback. If this will be fixed, EGS can become a very strong competitor.

Overall, EGS chose the wrong approach IMO. The idea is good, the execution is bad. They have brought a lot of good titles for the PC platform, as a result strengthening it. However, if you want to actually compete with Steam, you need to offer better or at least same level of features. Transparency and flexibility is the way to go.
money is going into companies though for the giveaways. some indie companies it saved from going under even. it's very good for everyone on all sides imo.
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#7
Searing
I just want a few quality of life improvements.

1. Support high refresh rate. It runs at 30fps or something, very sluggish.
2. Support the back button on my mouse, or press "backspace" to go back after clicking on something. How is this still not a thing???
3. Backup and restore games.
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#8
Rahnak
I think overall EGS is a good thing. I've claimed a bunch of good free games and I've even bought one.
cryohellinc
Additionally, no modding support and no customer reviews is a major drawback. If this will be fixed, EGS can become a very strong competitor.
Both of those are on the roadmap, mod support being in the "up next" and reviews in future development. trello.com/b/GXLc34hk/epic-games-store-roadmap
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#9
Vayra86
Between Uplay, Origin, Steam, EGS, and Blizzard...

its all more of the same.

The only difference is that with EGS I can actually get inspired looking at what's on offer, the store is simple... functionality lacking but all it really needs is a launch button.

On Steam, I get lost unless I play what's already in the library and modded up.
On Uplay, its only a choice of how you want to capture towers.
On Origin, I can only puke on 90% of the franchises and for the remaning 10% its working through buggy junk before you can play.
On Blizzard, the content has devolved into utter shit so fast I can't even get to grips with it.

So yea. Game on EGS
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#10
NRANM
In my opinion the Epic Game Store has helped the market. Perhaps not in any significant way just yet, but it has, and there is potential to be even more beneficial.

Just looked at their roadmap, and noticed the offline sign-in. If it works when Epic's servers are down, then it would actually be superior to Steam in that regard.
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#11
Rahnak
NRANM
Just looked at their roadmap, and noticed the offline sign-in. If it works when Epic's servers are down, then it would actually be superior to Steam in that regard.
Steam already has an offline mode.
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#12
NRANM
Rahnak
Steam already has an offline mode.
I never claimed Steam lacked an offline mode. I'm well aware it has. What I meant was it doesn't work when Steam's servers are down. I've had to access Steam both when I've had no Internet and when I've had Internet but the Steam network is offline for some reason. If I recall correctly, when it was the former, I could login in offline mode; when it was the latter, I couldn't.
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#13
ilyon
New stores are good, competition is good, capitalism is good OK, OK, OK.
The fact is EGS began his run by doing the only single bad move than "we, PC gamers" (primarily on PC and not on consoles) should never have accepted: exclusive games.
For just this single move I will never throw a single kopeck in their store, as long as I am able to. The fact is we are living the end of an era: subscription is definitely the next move of this industry.
I never accepted their way of doing with Metro Exodus.
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#14
BakerMan1971
Initially I was annoyed at the need for Yet another game launcher
Gta IV finally became the most insane game to own on Steam as you had to sign into Steam, Rockstar Socialclub and Games for Windows Live to play it.

However thinking about how we yearn for more CPU and GPU manufacturers to make the marketplace more competitive the same goes for digital game vendors.

So providing the launcher isn't too intrusive and grows to have good policies I can see there being room for more than one. As for exclusives just treat it like going to a different store to get the branded item you want that's not on sale in every store, we really don't want an online gaming Walmart do we?
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#15
xtreemchaos
2 right, my free games cat has doubled since i joined, im most thankful, long may it go on i also buy a few games to keep them sweet.
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#16
bew1977
londiste
Despite all of the controversy, Epic has definitely brought some fresh air to the market. I hate more launchers as much as anyone but market monopolized by Steam is not exactly the best way forward either.
Steam has problems, (Visibility for indie games and zero curation allowing any money grabbing asset flip on the planet being the big two that bother me) but I've never thought of Steam as a monopoly. Most Developers *want* their games on Steam. Steam doesn't search the games out and try to get them to come to the platform. As much as Epic touts the 70/30 line, they stay quiet on the fact Steam allows devs to generate keys to sell on other marketplaces for 100% of the profit. Huge amounts of 2nd party marketplaces exist that offer better prices and bundles that Steam doesn't.

I've claimed just about all of the free games on Epic, (Skipping games I have on Steam, since I already have them.) but nothing compels me to actually purchase anything from them. The storefront is still to janky for me to want to use it. Devs that have taken the exclusivity deal get looked into a little bit harder. Satisfactory and Phoenix Point were games I was excited for, but after taking the exclusivity deal began bashing steam and turning on fans that were waiting for the game to come there. Now that Satisfactory is on Steam, I'm doubting I actually purchase it outside of getting it as a choice in a Humble Bundle.

As for the Deal itself, I don't immediately hate Dev's that take it. It's what they say afterward. Dev's that say "Hey, this allowed us to develop the game another 6 months to make it better and pay our people" get my respect. Dev's that say "Epic is the future of the gaming market and we went there to support them" before crawling over to steam to get actual sales after the exclusivity period don't deserve my money.
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#17
Vayra86
ilyon
New stores are good, competition is good, capitalism is good OK, OK, OK.
The fact is EGS began his run by doing the only single bad move than "we, PC gamers" (primarily on PC and not on consoles) should never have accepted: exclusive games.
For just this single move I will never throw a single kopeck in their store, as long as I am able to. The fact is we are living the end of an era: subscription is definitely the next move of this industry.
I never accepted their way of doing with Metro Exodus.
You do realize that any subscription game is also by definition exclusive, yes? And always online, after all, gotta check the license.

EGS is in fact turning the industry trend back to the way it should be, with publisher freedom. Exclusivity was never a thing in game stores, it is a platform restriction and anything else is what you make of it. Everyone can install 100 launchers no problem.

You've read the sentiment of the market right though. Many spreadsheet heroes want us to mass subscribe to on-demand services. Not just in gaming. The idea is we carry our paycheck to service providers by the start of each month.

Here's my memo for that: Go F*ck yourself. If you want to join in that middle finger, support EGS. All those publishers that joined in... look at the games they offer. They aren't MTX ridden shitboxes... EGS may be our last chance to keep sane.
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#18
ilyon
Vayra86
You do realize that any subscription game is also by definition exclusive, yes? And always online, after all, gotta check the license.

EGS is in fact turning the industry trend back to the way it should be, with publisher freedom. Exclusivity was never a thing in game stores, it is a platform restriction and anything else is what you make of it. Everyone can install 100 launchers no problem.

You've read the sentiment of the market right though. Many spreadsheet heroes want us to mass subscribe to on-demand services. Not just in gaming. The idea is we carry our paycheck to service providers by the start of each month.

Here's my memo for that: Go F*ck yourself. If you want to join in that middle finger, support EGS
GOG.com is an alternative in this way, not EGS.
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#19
Valantar
Quite frankly I'm shocked that nearly half of people voting here still cling to the inane idea that EGS is somehow "harming" the gaming market? How? By taking profits away from Steam? Boo-frickin'-hoo. Steam is not our friend. Valve is not our friend. Steam has grown into a good platform through years and years of users pushing Valve to give users fair dues and necessary features, not through some benevolent attitude. And Valve is well known for fleecing developers and treating them terribly - including forcing them to take part in sales where the entire price cut comes out of the delvelopers' cut.

Yes, I get that it's simpler and easier to keep all of your games in one place, and that keeping friend lists and the like matched up across different services is a hassle. But is it that big of a deal? No. We just need publishers and platform holders (like Valve) to not block cross-play and not limit fundamental features to only the same platform. Beyond that, just install GOG Galaxy and keep track of all your games and friends that way.

Competition is good for everyone. Period.
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#20
Vayra86
ilyon
GOG.com is an alternative in this way, not EGS.
Its another alternative yes, but it will never break Steam, and Gabe will happily join in the on-demand service trend. Its what Steam is slowly moving towards, ever gaining more content and features. Its already offering TV.
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#21
ilyon
Vayra86
Its another alternative yes, but it will never break Steam, and Gabe will happily join in the on-demand service trend. Its what Steam is slowly moving towards, ever gaining more content and features. Its already offering TV.
It's, IMHO, the only one who tried to respect creator and consumer. EGS is just another Steam, with more immediate cash to burn.
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#22
TheUn4seen
Yay, I get a game for the low, low price of "give us all your personal data so we can sell it to advertisers and spammers. We will also leak it sooner or later. But here, you get a five dollar game!". Nah, thanks.
To be honest, competition is generally good so I'm not going to complain, other than about the fact that the market gets fragmented much like the video streaming mess. You need a dozen accounts to be able to get what you want, and a dozen "launchers" running in the background. I have a feeling that the pirate shops will see more traffic again.
I'm actually glad I got a bit too old to play games, so I don't have to deal with this stupidity.
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#23
Vayra86
ilyon
It's, IMHO, the only one who tried to respect creator and consumer. EGS is just another Steam, with more immediate cash to burn.
Now thát we can definitely agree on. Its probably just a matter of time, too. Let's see what Sweeney's backbone is made of. OTOH, so far so good...
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#24
Hyderz
sooner or later the titles both steam and egs sell are going to be the same.
when that happens they will compete on sales to see which platform will be cheaper.
when it gets too cheap the publisher will want a baseline for sale (e.g $15 for a game with 75% off)
after that we might start to see platform exclusives (e.g steam only dlc, egs only dlc to get more sales)
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#25
Valantar
ilyon
GOG.com is an alternative in this way, not EGS.
GOG doesn't have the clout to properly challenge Steam, even if their service is excellent in many ways (and obviously superior to EGS in so many ways). We needed someone with the power to challenge the entrenched de facto monopoly of Steam, which EGS has shown themselves as being capable of. And quite frankly what is the problem withe exclusives? Doesn't Steam have thousands of exclusives? Or do you find most Steam games on Uplay, Origin, and so on? No, I didn't think so. To break a monopoly that has cemented its position to such a degree that users actually like it (hello, Stockholm syndrome!), you need to force people out of it. Saying "hey, we're here too" won't help whatsoever when that just means that 99% of people will say "Ugh, another launcher to install, no thanks" and keep buying from Steam.
TheUn4seen
Yay, I get a game for the low, low price of "give us all your personal data so we can sell it to advertisers and spammers. We will also leak it sooner or later. But here, you get a five dollar game!". Nah, thanks.
To be honest, competition is generally good so I'm not going to complain, other than about the fact that the market gets fragmented much like the video streaming mess. You need a dozen accounts to be able to get what you want, and a dozen "launchers" running in the background. I have a feeling that the pirate shops will see more traffic again.
I'm actually glad I got a bit too old to play games, so I don't have to deal with this stupidity.
There's no evidence that EGS actually sells data to anyone, but they do ask when buying a game if you want to share your contact details with the publisher of the game. I sincerely doubt Steam would ask about anything like that.
ilyon
It's, IMHO, the only one who tried to respect creator and consumer. EGS is just another Steam, with more immediate cash to burn.
That is quite true, though EGS at least does give developers a much fairer revenue share than Steam does. But nothing beats GOG's policy of ... well, actually letting you own the games you buy. What a revolutionary idea!
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