Epic Games, Decisive to Override Steam
Gamers hoping to stick with Steam and avoid Epic’s major effort to compete in PC game distribution will have to ignore two more major upcoming PC titles, at least for a little while.
The first newly announced exclusive, Ubisoft’s Ghost Recon Breakpoint, doesn’t come as much of a surprise. Following The Division 2‘s last-minute move to the Epic Games Store in January, Epic and Ubisoft announced in March that the publisher would be bringing “several major PC releases” to Epic’s store instead of Steam. Since then, Ubisoft moved historical real-time strategy title Anno 1800away from Steam to the Epic Games Store ahead of its April 16 launch.
For those two titles, Ubisoft was put in the awkward position of having to honor Steam pre-orders that were made before the store transition took place. Breakpoint will be the first Ubisoft title in recent memory to never be available on Steam, however. The game is currently available only via Epic and Ubisoft’s own UPlay store.
Alongside the Breakpoint announcement, long-delayed indie title Outer Wilds has also announcedit will be coming first to the Epic Games Store on PC and to Xbox One on consoles. Developer Mobius Digital says additional platform support will be “coming later” and that “our goal is to bring the game to your preferred platform as quickly as possible.”
Mobius, which partially crowdfunded the buzzworthy time-looping space exploration game through Fig, had previously planned to release PC, Mac, and Linux versions of the game on Steam, even creating a preview page for the game on Valve’s platform. In announcing the move to Epic, though, Mobius said it “welcomed helpful partnerships with Annapurna Interactive, Xbox, and Epic to support us and keep our small studio running long enough to ship the game at the level of quality that it is today.”
That strongly suggests that Outer Wilds was part of Epic’s stated position of providing “some combination of marketing commitments, development funding, or revenue guarantees” to get games exclusively on its own platform.
Last month, Epic CEO and cofounder Tim Sweeney taunted Valve a bit by saying Epic would stop buying up exclusives “if Steam committed to a permanent 88% revenue share for all developers and publishers without major strings attached. Such a move would be a glorious moment in the history of PC gaming and would have a sweeping impact on other platforms for generations to come. Then stores could go back to just being nice places to buy stuff, rather than the Game Developer IRS.”
The latest exclusivity announcements come following recent word that Borderlands 3 will be an Epic exclusive through April 2020 and that Rocket League will be coming to Epic’s store following the company’s purchase of developer Psyonix.