The Epic Games Store has drawn support from developers for its more generous 88/12 revenue share model (Steam offers a 70/30 split), but it's drawn ire from some players by buying up exclusives like The Division 2, Metro Exodus, and most recently, The Outer Worlds. However, Epic is confident that its storefront is helping the games industry, even if gamers don't always feel that way.
"Ultimately, this is about making the industry a better place, starting with the terms available for developers," Epic CEO Tim Sweeney told GamesIndustry. "I understand gamers don't see that. They don't see the hardship of making a payroll and seeing the store suck out 30% of the revenue from it. It can be jarring to see the industry is changing in ways that are typically invisible to us as gamers."
Sweeney also described the Epic Store's "disruption" in the PC market as "a necessary step forward for the games industry if we want to enable developers to invest in building better games, and if we want the savings to ultimately be passed on to gamers in the form of better prices."
"It's important for game developers to hold strong and sometimes be willing to go through criticism as we do things that are necessary for the industry," he concluded.
The debate over Epic Store exclusives is multi-faceted. Many players dislike seeing games pulled from Steam in favor of the Epic store, like what happened with Metro Exodus. It was available for pre-order on Steam but jumped ship to the Epic Store just weeks before launch, and while Steam pre-orders were honored, it was still jarring to see it pulled so abruptly. As PC Gamer reports, even Epic believes the way Metro Exodus was handled was needlessly prickly, with Epic Store head Steve Allison admitting "we should make our decisions earlier, and we will."
Separately, Allison said Epic will eventually decrease how many exclusives it snaps up, but for the time being, the company will unabashedly pay for exclusivity in order to bring developers and users to its store. Coupled with the biweekly free games the Epic Store offers, those exclusives are basically being used as startup capital, something to get the store off the ground while Epic lays the foundation and works toward more organic growth.
Other players are just frustrated to see games missing from Steam, the biggest games distributor on PC, with some likening the Epic Store to the deals that lead to console-exclusive games. Of course, rather than buying a whole new system, PC gamers need only download the free Epic client in order to access its exclusives, so that argument doesn't quite land. That said, with features like achievements and reviews currently missing from the Epic Store - features that Steam has had for a while - it can be annoying to use. Adding those features and making the Epic Store easier and more enjoyable to use - or more to the point, turning it into a preferable or at least comparable alternative to Steam, not just a mandatory one - would probably go a long way toward calming frustrations over the store's exclusives.
Epic publishing strategy director Sergey Galyonkin recently affirmed that the Epic Store will not feature "porn and hate games."