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EPIC Games Store Offering Copies of "Metro 2033: Redux" and "Everything"

The EPIC Games Store, the digital storefront most PC gamers love to hate, has made available two free gamers for those who want to simply login to their store. The first game is Metro 2033: Redux, the updated Metro 2033 version that uses its sequel, Metro: Last Light's graphics engine. Besides the updated graphics, there are numerous quality of life improvements in the game, making it the definitive version of it to try out (if you have been living under a rock, or just haven't had any time for gaming in recent years whatsoever).

The other game is Everything, a procedurally-generated game that simulates mechanics and systems of nature. There is no objective in this game - the objective is just to immerse yourself and your time on a leisurely approach to space and planet-bound systems. Just log into your EPIC games account via the store and you can add both these games to your digital library (did I mention they're available for free?)

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.

Gearbox Reveals Minimum, Recommended Specs for Borderlands 3

Gearbox today revealed the minimum and recommended specs for their upcoming Borderlands 3, to be distributed digitally as an EPIC Games Store exclusive. Developed in close partnership with AMD, Borderlands 3 is being pitched by the company as playing best on AMD-based CPUs and GPUs. There's support for AMD's FidelityFX Sharpening, and graphics settings can be finely tuned for your desired level of performance and IQ, with plenty of options for users to play with - including resolution scale, where you can set your render resolution lower than your display resolution, or higher (with the resulting increase in IQ).

These are relatively standard requirements, as you can see in the image below. Nothing jumps to mind as being out of place: we've already seen 16 GB and a midrange RX 590 as the recommended specs before. Keep in mind Minimum Requirements are listed for 1080p resolution, whereas the Recommended specs are geared for a 1440p presentation. Borderlands 3 releases on September 13.

EPIC CEO Tim Sweeney: "Exclusives do Work"

EPIC CEO Tim Sweeney in a veritable Tweetstorm detailed EPIC's strategy on gaming exclusivity a bit more - and to listen to the CEO, EPIC is doing this as a way to break Steam's grasp on the PC games distribution market and their 30/70 distributor's cut. Asked on games exclusivity and their usage as a digital storefront strategy, Sweeney said that EPIC "believes exclusives are the only strategy that will change the 70/30 status quo at a large enough scale to permanently affect the whole game industry." He also says that this split is a "disastrous situation for developers and publishers alike."

Sweeney says that other independent storefronts that have been launched over the years (we imagine he's speaking of GOG and Humble Bundle, just to name a few), "none seem to have reached 5% of Steam's scale." He goes on to say that "this leads to the strategy of exclusives which, though unpopular with dedicated Steam gamers, do work, as established by the major publisher storefronts and by the key Epic Games store releases compared to their former Steam revenue projections and their actual console sales." His stance is that EPIC's 12/88 split is fairer for developers (stating that a 30% cut would almost totally cut into their profits), and that this additional money that enters studios' pockets will necessarily be split among "(1) reinvestment, (2) profit, and (3) price reduction", and that in this way, EPIC's solution is both proportionate to the problem, and a move that will benefit gamers in the long run.

Epic Announces the "EPIC Mega Sale", with $10 Off on Every Game Above $14.99

EPIC today announced their first ever EPIC Mega Sale, which brings a pretty linear discount across the games catalogue the online store has available for purchase. The company announced it is slashing at least $10/£10/€10 from every game priced above $14.99/£13.99/€15.99. This includes preorders on their own page, which means you can pre-purchase one of those soon to be released Quantic Dream games on the cheap (Heavy Rain and Beyond: two Souls can be yours for €9.99 right now, for instance), and Close to the Sun for €19.99. So if you are looking for some Epic Games Store exclusives (such as Metro Exodus for €34.99), go on and run.

Epic's Tim Sweeney Says They'd Stop Hunting for Exclusives if Steam Matched Epic Games Store in Comission Rates

Epic CEO Tim Sweeney has come out with an interesting commitment: that EPIC would stop hunting for exclusives in the PC platform is Steam were to match them in their 88% return to developers for each game sold. Being a developer themselves, Epic games have certainly looked into creating their own storefront as a way to escape the clutches of Steam's cut in the digital, PC distribution market (a move that had already been done by the likes of EA and Ubisoft, if you'll remember). A commitment to stop hunting for exclusives (and thus segregating the PC games offering across different platforms) is a clear indicator of Epic's mission with the Epic Games Store: to bring back power and returns to developers such as them (while taking a cut from the profits for themselves, obviously).

Check out after the break for the full content of Sweeney's remarks regarding their Games Store and the problem with Steam. I, for one, don't see much of a problem with virtual segregation of games across multiple PC-bound platforms - one of the strengths of PC gaming is actually the ability to install multiple applications that increase functionality, after all. But if the end game of all of this is simply to give more back to developers and Epic's move facilitates that by forcing Valve's hand in matching them for fear of drying profits - then so be it.

"Steam Was Killing PC Gaming", Former Valve Dev Says

The EPIC confrontation with Valve has become a hot topic in recent months, as a veritable Exodus of titles have migrated to the greener, 12%-limited cut that the EPIC Games Store takes from publishers who put their games on the EPIC Games Store digital storefront. Mostly, user reception of EPIC's practice of securing mostly one-year timed exclusivity deals for games that would otherwise also be available through Steam has left a sour taste oin gamers' mouths, as it is seen as a forced way for EPIC to fracture the PC gaming space.

However, a former Valve developer has come forth to say that in his view, Valve's 30% cut was already way behind the times, and was actually "killing PC gaming". The train of thought is that Steam itself changed Valve from a software company to what mostly amounts to a service provider, with Steam serving as a veritable digital money printing machine, that stole focus from games to games publishing, due to higher margins and much lower development costs. It's interesting - and logical - to assume that the reason an Half Life 3 never saw the light of day was because Valve had its revenue stream well secured in Steam. Why invest for a game that could be a flop, when you can just take a 30% cut from other developers' efforts?

Borderlands 3 Confirmed to be EPIC Games Store Timed Exclusive on PC, Developed in Partnership with AMD

Well, that tweet that fans of the Borderlands series feared meant platform exclusivity on PC actually manifested itself. Gearbox today announced that Borderlands 3, the hit sequel to one of the first loot-shooters, will indeed be releasing on September 13th for all platforms - but will be distributed exclusively on the PC digital platform via the EPIC Games Store. Other storefronts will have to wait until April 2020 to sell copies of the game.

The game will also feature optimized performance for AMD's CPU and GPU portfolio, with AMD aiding in performance optimizations for its Ryzen CPUs, current GPUs and, expectedly, next-generation Navi. The announcement trailer and 2K's press release points to a story-driven shooter, that Gearbox CEO Randy Pitchford pitched (ahem) as "a love letter to fans of the series, but also as an ideal entry point for new players to jump-in alone or cooperatively, on or off-line, in the latest and greatest installment of the definitive best-in-class benchmark shooter-looter." The announcement trailer follows.

EPIC Games Shows Off Unreal Engine 4.23 Physics, Destruction System "Chaos" at GDC 2019

Not all news coming from EPIC covers its EPIC Games Store - though according to the relative attention they've been garnering with the constant scooping up of PC timed exclusives, perhaps it should. This piece of news, alas, covers the company's unreal Engine, which has been one of the hallmarks in games development for a while now, being used for a number of disparate games such as the gears of War games, or even a relatively obscure, Xbox 360 exclusive title, Lost Odyssey. At GDC 2019, EPIC showcased version 4.23 of its Unreal Engine, with particular attention to its improved destruction and physics engine, which they've aptly named "Chaos".

Quantic Dreams' PlayStation Exclusives Heavy Rain, Beyond: Two Souls and Detroit: Become Human Announced for PC as EPIC Games Store Exclusives

The unthinkable, never-before-seen, has happened: games that were developed as PlayStation exclusives are finally making their way to PC (outside of any PS Now streaming shenanigans). Developer Quantic Dreams has announced at GDC 2019 that Heavy Rain, Beyond: Two Souls and Detroit: Become Human are coming to the PC platform. And if you didn't read that title, you probably wondered, and yes: they are exclusive, for a period of one year, to the EPIC Games Store.

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?).

The Division 2 Skipping Steam, Available Only on Ubisoft and Epic Stores; System Requirements Outed With Radeon VII

The Epic Games Store with its aggressive developer earnings program is drilling away at Steam's already-installed hegemony as the PC gaming platform of choice. A mere 12% royalty for the storefront means much more money goes back to the developers, and the more copies are sold of a given game, the bigger the profit will become. This is why some games have already even left Steam's shores to find a home on the Epic Games Store, and now, a AAA title in The Division 2 will be skipping Steam entirely. With launches on Ubisoft's own store and an 88% cut on the Epic store, Ubisoft will be looking to maximize their profits.

That part of the story is done; Ubisoft has also outed the system requirements for the PC version of The Division 2, which, for a minimum of 30 FPS at 1080p, will require either an AMD FX-6350 or Intel Core I5-2500K CPU, 8 GB of RAM, and 2 GB of video RAM on an AMD Radeon R9 270 or Nvidia GeForce GTX 670.

Could Microsoft and Steam be Looking Into Enabling Crossplay Between Services?

Crossplay has become an interesting point of contention for the industry, with some very popular games and companies advocating for a unified, non-fractured player audience enjoying their games across different media consumption screens, and even gaming platforms. Microsoft has been pushing this kind of capability for some time now, launching their Xbox Play Anywhere initiative which aims to bring PC, Xbox (or both) gamers to parity - acquiring a game on one platform equals having it on both, with all game data being synced.

A new update in the Steam beta update code explicitly refers to Xbox, with an "Xbox_pairwise_id" being present, which could point towards exploration of a future feature. Microsoft adding keyboard and mouse support to their Xbox consoles, news of a new streaming-based console for Microsoft's xCloud efforts, and Steam already offering controller support are some of the little details that could make this a winning bet for both companies.

Battle Royale? More Like Profit Royale: Fortnite Reportedly Tops $1 billion in Revenue

A report from analyst firm Superdata has put in perspective the craze regarding Battle Royale-type games. Fortnite, developed by EPIC, is now estimated to have earned more than $1 billion in revenue since its launch last year. And it all seems to be going uphill - the game earned some $304 million in May alone solely on its in-game microtransactions, a 4% increase over the still impressive $296 million figure in April. Consider that EPIC only added the Battle Royale game mode last September, and the voracious pace of revenue increase becomes obvious - just the months of May and April account for more than half of the $1 billion being reported here.

Make no mistake: like in all things, there will be an inevitable tumble in popularity and revenue as the game ages, even if it has just now entered its fifth season. However, the rhythm at which funds are flowing into EPIC's coffers will surely enable an even bigger, more impressive experience come Fortnite's successor, which you can bet will be ready to pick up the slack once revenue slows down. It becomes hard not to justify developers' options towards developing these kinds of games over others - it really does seem to be this is where most money's at.

EPIC Games Shows off Homonymous Raytracing Proof of Concept Videos

EPIC delivered their "The State of Unreal" presentation at the Game Developers Conference in San Francisco this week (which had a great deal much time devoted to raytracing technologies). EPIC Games has been at the forefront of graphics development for some years now. Their engines (alongside a few other key players in the industry) routinely push the boundaries of graphical fidelity. And naturally, something would be amiss if they weren't jumping on the raytracing bandwagon as well with some of the most impressive proof of concept videos I've ever seen in real-time generated graphics. The company took their time, then, to unveil their artistic interpretations of real-time ray tracing, motion capture and real-time facial animation mapping. Cue many videos, after the break.

EPIC games Acquires Cloudgine, Welcomes It to Its Fold

EPIC Games has made an investment that was both likely and unlikely: the acquisition of Cloudgine, a software company based in Edinburgh, Scotland, that specializes in real-time cloud computing technologies. The company's name has appeared associated with Microsoft's now almost infamous Crackdown 3 project for the Xbox One console, which has been met with delays after delays. The sum for the acquisition hasn't been announced, though EPIC was forthcoming with the intention: they aim to integrate Cloudgine's software and cloud computing solutions on their Unreal engine. The full EPIC press release follows.

Westone Introduces the UM Pro Series IEMs

Westone, the leader in high performance audio and in-ear monitoring technology, announces the availability of the UM Pro Series headphones. The UM Pro Series 10, 20 and 30 are the next generation of the acclaimed Westone UM Series and bring superior sound for the stage or studio. Each unit is individually hand-crafted in Colorado Springs, USA. The UM Pro 10 is ideal for on-stage monitoring for any level of musician, the UM Pro 20 is ideal for on-stage monitoring for drummers, vocalist and bass players, and the UM Pro 30 is the reference product for on-stage monitoring and home or studio recording.

With Westone True-Fit technology, Westone combines 50+ years experience with in-ear applications that has yielded a low-profile, lightweight, universal earpiece which delivers maximum comfort and in-ear coupling for dynamic music monitoring. UM Pros are meticulously built by a staff of dedicated artisans and lab technicians. Westone's USA products exhibit a level of craftsmanship that truly embodies America's rich history of handmade artistry. The UM Pro exemplifies the best in sound and fit available on the market today.

MSI MS-98D1 EPIC IPC Motherboard Announced

MSI proudly announced the release of its new EPIC embedded board?MS-98D1. The MS-98D1 is a compact EPIC size embedded board with Intel Atom Dual Core processor for low-power fanless solution. Featuring with dual core, fanless design, rich I/O, and wide input voltage of 9 to 36 VDC, the MS-98D1 is especially ideal for industrial applications that involve control and communications, or any industrial fields that require fanless embedded systems.

The dual Gigabit LAN built-in also benefit the target applications by providing broad-band communication capability that is required by many industrial fields. For some systems that need additional communication or I/O interfaces, the PCI-104 slot of MS-98D1 allows system integrators to stack more modules with no limits, offering more application possibilities with this small board. Moreover, 2 independent displays with VGA, DVI, and Dual LVDS outputs enable the MS-98D1 to be applied for remote monitoring and control systems as well.

MAINGEAR Delivers NVIDIA GeForce GTX 680 Graphics on All Desktops

MAINGEAR, an award-winning PC system builder of custom desktops, notebooks, and workstations, offers PC gamers and enthusiasts the next generation of NVIDIA architecture that delivers a powerful new graphics solution to redefine smooth, seamless, lifelike gaming on their award-winning desktop systems.

The NVIDIA GeForce GTX 680 is the fastest single GPU graphics card on the market today with superior power efficiency that allows for the card to be extremely quiet, along with new key visual technologies as well as added multi-display capabilities. MAINGEAR desktops equipped with the new NVIDIA GeForce GTX 680 graphics card offer the fastest graphics performance to date thanks to NVIDIA's GPU boost technology, which dynamically maximizes clock speeds based on the workload of the program to push performance to new levels and brings out the best in every game. This new generation of NVIDIA graphics provides the best gaming experience possible with maximum detail settings enabled.

MAINGEAR Maximizes CPU Heat Transfer With the EPIC T1000 Thermal Cooling Solution

MAINGEAR, an award-winning custom PC builder offering custom desktops, custom notebooks, pc and workstations, is excited to announce their next innovation from MAINGEAR EPIC Labs; the MAINGEAR EPIC T1000 CPU thermal solution for their entire desktop lineup.

The MAINGEAR EPIC T100 is an ultra-high performing phase change metal alloy thermal interface material (TIM) offering the most effective solution to transfer heat from the CPU to the heatsink with high bulk conductivity. The MAINGEAR EPIC T1000 deploys into all the surface micro-asperities on the CPU lid and heat sink in a way that traditional paste solutions simply cannot.

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