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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.

Total War Saga: Troy to Be Free on Launch Day via EPIC Games Store

Here's EPIC kicking up its free game offerings up several notches at once. Sega and Creative Assembly, developers of the user and critically-acclaimed Total War videogames, have announced that their latest release on that series, titled Total War Saga: Troy, will be available on launch day, August 13th, when it launches exclusively on EPIC Games Store. Based on Homers' Illiad, "A Total War Saga: TROY focuses on the historical flashpoint of the Trojan War, bringing the conflict to life as never before."

A caveat: the game will only be available for free in the first 24 hours following launch. Any claims after that will be met with the games' real price-tag. How's that for EPIC Games Store exclusivity deals? Check the games' trailer and confirmation of this promotion after the break.

Grand Theft Auto V Premium Edition Free to Grab on Epic Games Store

Epic Games has just done something that's sure to garner a lot of attention: they're offering free copies of Rockstar Games' Grand Theft Auto V. Yes, you can stop reading now and go on and grab it; you know you want to, even if you've played it on console already. The game is the latest entry in one of the most legendary franchises in gaming, and as it stands, counts with a 96 Metascore and a 7.8 user score. Even though the game has been released over five years ago, it's still one of the greatest, featuring a live community on its online components.

Epic Games Store Adds Support For 5 More Local Currencies

The Epic Games store has seen continuous updates since its launch in 2018 adding various additional features, now surpassing many other game launchers such as Origin, Uplay, and battle.net in terms of features and hot on the heels of Steam. In the latest update to the platform Epic has added support for five new local currencies, users in Canada, Australia, Sweden, Denmark, and Norway can now pay for games on the launcher in their native currencies. This addition is one of many Epic have been releasing from their public roadmap which lists trending pages, mod support, and offline sign-in all as features coming soon.

Free Game Alert: Just Cause 4, Wheels of Aurelia Are Free to Grab at EPIC Games Store

EPIC has made available two more free games this week. One of them is the well-known, Bethesda-published and Avalanche Studios-developed Just Cause 4, which sees players diving (sometimes literally) into the open-world city of Solis. Featuring complete mayhem and a third-person gameplay perspective, the game was received to lukewarm reviews (currently stands at 68 Metacritic score) and even worse consumer reception (sitting at a not-so-pretty 4.8 user score).

The other entry is Wheels of Aurelia (developed by Santa Ragione srl), which is pitted as a "immersive road trip" through the 1970's Italian West Coast (in the coherently-named Via Aurelia). The soundtrack and experience, as well as the chance to learn some history and cultural context of 1970's Italy, should be your main expectations while diving into this game; as a gameplay experience, it seems to have left much to be desired, sitting with a Metascore of 63 and a 4.0 user score. You can grab these via the EPIC launcher, as always.

Free Game Alert: Watch Dogs, The Stanley Parable Now Free to Grab from the EPIC Games Store

The current quarantine situation can be cut in two ways: as a major setback for your life, or as an opportunity. An opportunity, for instance, to mow down all the games you've got on backburner. To that end, and in case you're running low in Triple-AAA or quirky, interesting game experiments, the EPIC Games Store has now made available for free download both Ubisoft's Watch Dogs and Galactic Cafe's The Stanley Parable. Both offer a distinct gameplay experience, with EPIC thus catering to two completely different gamer demographics.

Watch Dogs is a well-known action-adventure RPG launched back in 2014, set in a fictionalized version of Chicago. Playing as Aiden Pierce, a hacker with a personal revenge motivation, you hack your way through security systems in a somewhat dystopian society. The game was not very well received, standing with a 77 score on Metacritic and a 4.9 user score (in no small part due to the considerable graphics downgrade seen between the showcased version and the final graphics the game shipped with). The Stanley parable, on the other hand, is a quirky first-person exploration game based on a mod to the Half Life 2 engine that seems set on exploring a quantum approach to storytelling. This one features a much healthier 88 score in Metacritic and an 8.0 in user score.

Kingdom Come: Deliverance and Aztez Now Available for Free in the EPIC Games Store

The EPIC Games Store has been a great source of free weekly games, with such offerings such as Observer, The Witness, and Surviving Mars all seeing their way into players' libraries without spending a penny. Now, a juggernaut of last year's releases comes our way as well in the form of Kingdom come: Deliverance, the immersive open-world sim from Warhorse Studios. If you'll remember, our own W1zzard has taken a look at this game, and even in its release state, found it to be hugely engrossing. Now, with months of active bug fixing behind it, it should be an even better, more polished experience.

The other title on offer, Aztez, is described as a hybrid beat-them-up and turn-based strategy game, with striking black, white and red visuals (and developed by Team Colorblind, so that might have something to do with the aesthetic choice). The game actually looks like a lot of fun, and the visuals are what they are already, so why not get yourself another game for your already endless waiting list?

EPIC Announces 100M Subscribed Users to EPIC Games Store in Just One Year of Operation

Cut from the digital storefront cloth as you will, the EPIC Games Store has come to stay. EPIC has just announce that its digital distribution platform has achieved over 100 M subscribed users (which is different from active users, so mind the gap). That is still a success by any metric, since the digital games storefront was such a one-sided market before EPIC entered the fray - you'd be forgiven for describing the PC games distribution platform network as being composed of "Steam and the others".

Through platform exclusivity deals for new PC launches, a more enticing profit split between developers and games that are available through its store (with its headline and exclusive-grabbing 88-12 percent revenue split), monthly game giveaways and the power of Fortnite, EPIC has said that the EPIC Games Store alone generated $680 million in revenue thus far. Of that amount, Epic says $251 million represents sales of third-party games. part of that revenue has been channeled back at gamers - $23 million has been distributed in coupons and discounts toward game sales. According to EPIC, the nine most successful games in its platform are World War Z, Borderlands 3, Untitled Goose Game, Metro Exodus, Control, The Outer Worlds, The Division 2, Dauntless, and Satisfactory.

Steam Reveals Its Top Sellers for 2019

Steam has revealed the games that sold the most on the platform for this year of 2019. While Steam's own numbers don't represent the entirety of the PC market - considering other digital storefronts such as GOG, EPIC Games Store and publisher-exclusive stores like Origin also have a relevant market share - this does let us take a considered peek at the PC gaming landscape. Steam's top sellers also includes top grossing, where games that have store-bound skins or extras are also taken into account).

Steam's Platinum lineup includes all the hallmarks of PC gaming: online experiences such as Warframe, DOTA 2, PUBG, and the Elder Scrolls Online, through strategy experiences such as Civilization VI and Total War: Three Kingdoms. Considering that Destiny 2 also made it in the platform, many gamers actually enjoy that experience - it is unclear if Steam considers every redeem from the Blizzard store into the Steam Store a sale, but if not, it's mighty impressive that a game that released on October 1st.

Steam Autumn Sale is Live - Even More Games on sale Than Previous Editions

Steam may be losing some luster in the digital game distribution arena with the quantity and quality of heavy players that have appeared since its inception - I'm looking at GOG and the EPIC Games Store especially. However, Steam continues to be the service that offers the largest library of purchasable titles. As such, if you don't have a backlog of games to play already (don't lie, you do have them, but we won't judge if you buy some more), now is the time to make the jump.

The biggest discount percentage I've seen, so far, is that for Rise of the Tomb Raider, which cuts a total of 85% from its listing price. Discounts range from 20% through to that (apparent) ceiling, with franchises such as the Dark Souls Series (Dark Souls 3 for $15 (75% off), Dark Souls 2 for $9.99 (75% off), and Dark Souls Remastered going for $23.99 (40% off). The Dishonored franchise also sees massive cuts from their list prices, at 70% for the original and 75% for Dishonored 2 and its Death of the Outsider expansion (how I love these games). The Master Chief Collection, however, isn't on sale - it's still in pre order, you know how it is. But maybe one of these days you'll get that one (though it already is a steal at its launch price for the quality of games you're getting). Go on, feast your eyes and murder your wallet. We're cheering for you.

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.

The 2019 Steam Summer Sale is On From Today Through July 9th

The annual Steam game sale celebration is here, in the form of the Summer Sale. The now legendary platform for games consumption on the PC ecosystem has announced that from today through July 9th, thousands of games are experiencing price cuts that can go up to 90%. If you're planning to get your game fix, and it isn't an EPIC Games Store Exclusive, you can try and pick it up here at a discounted price - provided you can actually reach the site. Storefront price cuts are Devil May Cry 5 (-34%) and Assassin's Creed: Odyssey (-50%) but you can also grab Ni-oh, for example, at a 60% discount. The new Summer Sale now features a Steam Summer Grand Prix mode, where users can band together in groups to complete milestones (including unlocking quests and achievements) that will grant users games from their wishlist as they achieve "Pit Stops".

As it stands, it seems there have been some connection issue,s with users reporting "502 - Bad gateway" errors. For me, the page simply appears blank, with not even a single error report shown (after I finished writing this piece, I tried the steam store page again, and it seems to be working - at least for now.

Epic Games Purchases Rocket League Creator Psyonix, May be Sold as Epic Games Store Exclusive Late 2019

Update: A clarification was sent out earlier today where Epic said that they won't stop supporting Rocket League on Steam, as they never could actually do, since legions of players that had already purchased the game on that platform would pick up their pitchforks with a vengeance. However, wording on Epic's clarification leaves much to be desired, and seemingly confirms that the game will not be available on Steam:
"The PC version of Rocket League will come to the Epic Games store in late 2019. In the meantime, it will continue to be available for purchase on Steam; thereafter it will continue to be supported on Steam for all existing purchasers. (...) "Rocket League remains available for new purchasers on Steam, and long-term plans will be announced in the future."
Epic Games has announced the acquisition of Rocket League developer Psyonix, which created one of the most addictive non/Battle Royale game of recent times. The move by Epic will see the games- introduction to the Epic Games Store, with platform exclusivity confirmed for late 2019 / which means that anyone looking to purchase the game on a PC/centric digital storefront will have to go to Epic's, since Steam will be leaving the vendor equation.

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?

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?).

Steam Users Review Metro Exodus Positively While Review Bombing the Epic Games Store

We reported earlier this month how Steam users were resorting to review bombing of the previous game entries in the Metro franchise, mostly driven by Deep Silver/Koch Media's decision to take Metro Exodus over to the Epic Games Store for a timed exclusive. 4A developers commented on how this could impact further game development on the PC platform, and that ended up being more kindling to the fire despite some language communication gaps in play. Metro Exodus has since launched, and has been getting reviews from the media and players alike, with the former mostly agreeing it is a good game, but not necessarily as good as the previous entries were. The latter, however, is where things got interesting- especially on Steam.

For those who were able to add the game to their Steam library before it got moved, and there are a lot of those too given Metro Exodus rose to the top spot of best selling titles once that news broke, the game appears to be more than satisfactory at first glance. While many were expecting users to review bomb the title negatively again, the current status of the game on Steam is "Very Positive" as far as user reviews go. Discussions have been mostly on point as well, until you dig deeper. The most helpful reviews, as rated by other Steam users, are really just a dig at the Epic Games Store, with language used that is less mature than the game rating itself. Newer reviews continue to do the same, so perhaps this was an attempt by many to appease the game publisher by leaving positive reviews of the game, but still making it more about the Epic Games store than the game itself. Not the best way to go about things, but it is still better than review bombing the game.

Less Than a Year Since Its Inception, Razer is Closing its Razer Games Store

"That didn't last long" is what the user that brought us this story opened up with, and there's really not much more that can be said to encapsulate this event. Remember how Razer announced, in April of 2018, it would be introducing its own Razer Games Store, looking to grab a slice of the publishing revenue from Steam? Well, the project didn't quite pan out - whether because of its zSilver-associated rewards program or not, Razer is pitting this as part of its "realignment plans".

The Razer Game Store will close its doors at 1am PST February 28, with purchased games continuing to work, and pre-ordered titles shipping as planned. Discount vouchers, however, must be used before that date. TechCrunch reports that in a Q&A accompanying the announcement, Razer said it would "continue bringing games to gamers via other services." "We will be investing in other ways to deliver great content and introduce game promotions through Razer Gold, our virtual credits system," the company said. The Epic games store is developing at a relatively good pace, even if the titles are somewhat sparse - it has been nagging more and more high-profile launches from Steam's doorstep, as it did with Metro Exodus. So it isn't that much a problem of it being an impossible market to break in to - it just seems EPIC developed a wholly better strategy (businesswise) for it.

Metro Exodus Packaging Appears, Steam Logo Simply Hidden Under A Sticker

The drama surrounding Metro Exodus continues unabated. Deep Silver which has ownership over the IP, was the one that decided to pull Metro Exodus from Steam in favor of a 1-year timed exclusivity deal on the Epic Games Store. If you've been following the drama thus far this is all public information. Furthermore, it was speculated that this move was made at the very last minute considering other retailers were originally advertising preorders as being Steam keys for quite some time right up until the news of the digital platform switch broke. Lending more credence to the fact this was a disruptive switch at the last minute is the physical packaging which was not altered for the game's launch and instead has a sticker covering the Steam logo. Truly for such an outstanding game, the mess of its launch should be remembered as a great example of how not to release a game.

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.

Discord Store Offers 90% Revenue Share to Developers, Potentially to Counter Epic Games Threat

The launch of the new Epic Games store for the PC has created many an aftershock in the gaming industry, including Steam updating their revenue share model, but the games press and media alike were quick to discuss implications more so for the equally new Discord store that understandably is more in line as far as breaking into the market goes, and impact from competition accordingly. In a series of moves that no doubt pleases game developers and publishers alike, Discord announced that they are going to offer a 90/10 revenue distribution with 90% in favor of developers- an increase over the industry leading "up to 88%" from Epic Games until then.

There is a small catch in that Discord is allowing developers to self-publish the games if they so desire, which in turn is how they will get that 90% revenue share, so it remains to be seen how user friendly that process is. Discord in their blog post made a big point about how it does not cost 30% to distribute games in 2018, a move that will no doubt be examined throughout not only the gaming industry but every single online app distribution platform where a 70/30 split is the current industry standard. As long as this move enables the store to break even and churn out a profit, we would like to see more of this happening to where game developers get more money and do not feel compelled to work ridiculously long hours.

Subnautica Currently Available for Free on Epic Games Store

Epic Games has been pulling a few major moves in the PC gaming market lately, none bigger than creating their own game store and following up with shifting over some of their games from Steam. The company promises a more lucrative profit distribution share to developers (to which Valve had preemptively countered slightly with their own Steam revenue update), and that did help get some game developers and publishers on board, including Supergiant with their new games Hades.

To appease the cautious PC audience thus far, Epic Games has decided to begin with some free games for account holders. As of the time of this post, the excellent aquatic survival game Subnautica is up for grabs. The game was somewhat of a sleeper hit this year, and well worth the free price of admission for anyone interested. The game is available through December 27, after which Epic Games will offer Super Meat Boy for free the following two weeks.
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