Epic Games is, without a doubt, one of the most successful game companies still around. After creating fan-favorites such as Jazz Jackrabbit back in the ’90s, when they were still operating under the name “Epic MegaGames,” they went on to create the Xbox 360 hit trilogy Gears of War, as well as the crown jewel of iPhone gaming (at the time), Infinity Blade. They seem to have struck gold again with the battle royale game mode of their newest game, Fortnite, which has taken the world by storm.
Despite their success, the Epic Games Store has received a lot of negative attention from specialized gaming media and gamers. Is the hate justified, or are they the victims of people following the opinion of the flock?
Developer Concerns & Store Design
One of the biggest complaints is that Epic Games has made exclusivity deals with many money-starved developers. These deals involved the developers receiving large sums of cash in exchange for releasing their games on PC exclusively through the Epic Games Store. These exclusivity deals have angered gamers. Many gamers already have an extensive library of both games and friends on Steam and would like to continue playing games using the same platform. However, there is a positive side of Epic using their Fortnite money to entice developers to publish on their platform; they managed to snag some great games that had only been available on Sony’s PlayStation consoles.
Another big complaint seems to be the interface of the store itself. After its great release, many gamers have noted that it was missing a lot of crucial elements, with the biggest offender being the lack of a shopping cart. A missing shopping cart means that whenever gamers want to purchase multiple titles, they need to purchase each title separately. This means that each transaction shows up as a separate payment. Some gamers have complained that their banks have blocked purchases due to what they consider suspicious activity. Epic Games have released a roadmap of upcoming features after reading feedback, but so far, they have missed every deadline.
Pricing & Privacy Concerns
While their developers were working on actual solutions to the lacking offering of their game client, the sales department at Epic Games managed to come up with an interesting way to bring more people to their store: paying for their games. The Epic Games Store Summer Sale found many games, both released and upcoming, being deeply discounted. But the kicker here was that Epic Games actually further lowered the prices by 10 dollars for every title, with the difference coming out of their own pocket. However great this sale was for gamers, it actually hurt many indie developers and publishers, who had to pull their games off the store. These discounts lowered the value of the games and discouraged sales on other platforms, so this was another loss on Epic Games’ record.
Lastly, the biggest issue of the Epic Games Store is the lack of security. There have been rumors that Epic Games planted programs that read their users’ Steam accounts stats. These concerns are magnified since Chinese company Tencent owns 40 percent of Epic Games. Some worry that Tencent is selling user data to the Chinese government.
The Path Ahead
The Epic Games Store has had a rough start, but will undoubtedly keep on the pressure on Steam for the foreseeable future. However, its actual success will be determined by the way the company deals with gamers’ complaints, and whether they do so in a timely manner.