The online store competition is about to get a little more crowded. Much like the streaming service companies, once there was blood in the water, everyone wanted a taste– and its no different for the creators of the mega-hit, free-to-play Fortnite.
Epic Games announced today that they are joining the scrum, setting up an Epic Games Store to compete with the likes of Valve’s Steam Store, Microsoft’s Windows Store and the larger game producers (EA, Activision Blizzard, Ubisoft) who already have their own active game launchers. There has been no official announcement for the release date of the launcher, besides a vague 2019. The interesting aspects here are the ways in which they plan to change certain things that have become almost expected when using a game launcher.
First off, they plan on only taking 12% cut of sales, as opposed to Steam’s 20-30%. That already has some heads turning, as it ultimately means more money for the developer. This will replace their engine royalties they would collect on games using the Unreal Engine and the launcher will be open to games developed with any engine. However, the early adopters of the launcher won’t have a wide selection to choose from, as they “are starting small, with a handpicked set of games at launch,” founder and CEO of Epic Games Tim Sweeney stated.
For those in know about Steam and their current issues with Adult-Only content, there is some good news– Epic Games will have “an approval process… [that] will mostly focus on the technical side of things and general quality.” When it comes to the Adult-Only content, he specifies that while they will “curate based on developers’ creative or artistic expression“, he assures that the Epic Games Store will do so manually, “rather than relying on algorithms or paid ads.”
The Epic Games Store will also have a feature that connects developers and well-known gamers, such as those in Youtube or streaming on Twitch. It will allow the developers and their fans to interact more directly, where the content creators can promote the game, while possibly being able to do so for free as a means of advertisement. It’s a situation that could have a positive effect for both sides of the equation– the gamers to play a game they love early, and the developers get some decent feedback/promotion.
How this is accomplished is when the purchaser pays for game through the store, they will automatically be subscribed to the game’s newsfeed, of which the developers are responsible for themselves. It essentially promises no unwanted ads or cross-marketing, but whether that is a pillar of the system or just a lure to bring people in will have to be decided in the future.
No matter how one looks at it, this is some pretty good news, and considering Fortnite’s player base, it can’t just be ignored. A store that seems to promote both the developers using it and doesn’t constantly try to get more money out of the player?
Right now, I’d say it’s too good to be true. But let’s hope I’m proven wrong.
What do you think? Will Epic’s game store reach the heights of Steam, or crash-and-burn like many Netflix imitators? Let us know in the comments below!