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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.

Remedy Games' Control Content Roadmap Updated

Control is one of the best non-surprising surprises of this year's gaming scene. Remedy's tale of science fiction and paranatural objects and events is joined with a strong narrative, some of the best environments and art direction we've seen this side of 2019, and strong gunplay to boot. That Remedy isn't finished with exploring the world of Control is a given, and now we have some idea of how things will (para)naturally pan out.

First off, a free content drop coming later this year is a Photo Mode and a new game mode, dubbed Expeditions, which will shore-up endgame content for players who want to get engrossed, without end, in the gameplay of Control. There will also be two paid expansions for the game. The Foundation drops in 2020 with new story missions, enemies, and game mechanics, and will explore the nature of The Oldest House. The second Expansion, AWE (Altered World Event in the games' lingo) will explore the Investigations Sector of the Oldest House and the Federal Bureau of Control. This last one is the most intriguing, and could (tinfoil hat galore) mean a mesh of Control and Alan Wake. We know from Control's lore that the events depicted in Alan Wake are considered an Altered World Event in the game, and that they occur in the same universe. Also, the teaser image recreates the legendary Alan Wake cover art. Perhaps we'll find closure to Alan Wake outside the game proper? I'll be here to see, definitely. Finishing off, the Expansion pass will reportedly be set at a $24.99 pricing, which means individual expansions could go for $14.99 each.

Control Can Use Up to 18.5GB of Video Memory

"Control" by Remedy is the season's hottest AAA release, not just because it's an above-average story-driven action RPG, but also because it's an eye candy-shop. With the ability to use NVIDIA RTX real-time raytracing across a multitude of features, the game is particularly heavy on graphics hardware. Tweaktown tested the game's stability at extremely high display resolutions, including 8K, and found that the game can use up to 18.5 GB of video memory, when running in DirectX 12 with RTX enabled. There's only one client-segment graphics card capable of that much memory, the $2,499 NVIDIA TITAN RTX, which ships with 24 GB of GDDR6 memory. Its nearest client-segment neighbor is the AMD Radeon VII, but it only packs 16 GB of HBM2.

When a game needs more video memory than your graphics card has, Windows has an elaborate memory management system that sheds some of that memory onto your system's main memory, and the swap file progressively (at reduced performance, of course). Video memory usage drops like a rock between 8K and 4K UHD (which is 1/4th the pixels as 8K). With all RTX features enabled and other settings maxed out, "Control" only uses 8.1 GB of video memory. What this also means is that video cards with just 8 GB of memory are beginning fall short of what it takes to game at 4K. The $699 GeForce RTX 2080 Super only has 8 GB. The RTX 2080 Ti, with its 11 GB of memory has plenty of headroom and muscle. Find other interesting observations in the source link below.

The EPIC Games Store Odyssey: Obsidian's "The Outer Worlds", Remedy's "Control" Exclusive for One Year

It seems that the EPIC Game Store exclusivity saga is still coming strong, with not one, but two AA games coming to PC that are exclusive to the new games distribution platform. Obsidian's The Outer Worlds is likely one of the most anticipated RPG games this side of Fallout 76, and Remedy has always been known for great single-player games that push the boundaries of the medium - and sometimes wreck those boundaries completely, as it happened with Quantum Break.

Now, both games are known to be part of EPIC's Game Store in a time-limited exclusive format for one year after launch, much like has happened with Metro Exodus - though here there is no sudden Steam departure to be met with. The Outer Worlds will also be available in Microsoft Store, true (Obsidian is now part of Microsoft's Game Studios, remember?).

DMCA Claim Results in Star Control: Origins Being Pulled From Steam and GOG

While seeing DMCA (Digital Millenium Copyright Act) claims used for the removal of copyrighted content on Youtube and the like is a common occurrence, seeing it used to take a game off digital store shelves is still a relatively new concept. However, that is precisely what happened to Stardock's Star Control: Origins which released back on September 20th, 2018. The DMCA claim itself comes from exclusive copyright holders Paul Reiche III and Fred Ford who were two of the original game designers that worked on the series' first and second installments back in the early 1990s for Accolade. Considering Stardock bought the brand, trademark and publishing rights in 2013, this particular DMCA claim may not be legitimate. Even so, the game has been pulled, oddly enough the DLC remains available for purchase.

While Paul and Fred are claiming exclusive copyright in regards to the original titles as well as any related materials present in said games, they also claim similar copyright in regards to Star Control 3. Even if they do have some form of a legitimate copyright claim, Stardock's title does not use characters or story threads from the previous games and is based in a separate standalone universe. Taking into account Stardock's ownership of the brand, the DMCA claim appears to be nothing more than a form of harassment directed at Stardock. Worse yet, considering the resulting loss of income due to the DMCA claim, the company will be laying off some developers assigned to Star Control: Origins. Considering this legal dispute has been ongoing for some time you can view Stardocks side of the story on a separate webpage. Meanwhile, you can see the original DMCA takedown at the source provided below.

Games With NVIDIA RTX, Part 1: Battlefield V, Control

At NVIDIA's event at Koln, Germany, NVIDIA's Mark Smith took the lid of some of NVIDIA's game developing partners that are working on breinging RTX's improvements to gamers' systems. The presentation started with Christian Holmquist and Jonas Gammelholm, both with DICE, going through the graphical improvements enabled on Battlefield V through the usage of RTX.

Reflections of tank's muzzle flashes in character's eyes, reflected flames and smoke in water bodies, perfect ray tracing on reflective surfaces even with off-screen sources of lighting, static cube maps are replaced with actual transparent, reflective surfaces... And these effects are relevant even in gameplay; these aren't some screenshot-only, squinting-effort effects. You can immerse yourself in them even in the fast-paced combat of Battlefield V.
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