The Epic store is still in its infancy, yet it has managed to pull another high-profile game away from Steam’s storefront.
Deep Silver, the publisher of the Metro series, announced recently that their title Metro: Exodus would be exclusive to Epic’s store on PC when it releases on Feb. 15th (the PlayStation 4 and Xbox One editions will be sold as normal). While temporary—after — it will be back on Steam—this marks the second AAA game to go through with the transition, after Ubisoft said a couple of weeks ago that Tom Clancy’s The Division 2 would being doing so as part of a multi-game agreement. Some gamers are not happy—there have been pre-orders on Steam for a while now—and this announcement was a bit of a blindside.
So what happens with all of those pre-orders Steam has already processed? Luckily, Deep Silver has said that “any customer with an outstanding pre-order for Metro: Exodus on PC through any digital retailer will receive their game as expected.” The difference in the cut the publisher receives assuredly played at least a fragmentary part of the decision, and it seems they plan on passing that deal on to consumers—the game will be cheaper on Epic than on Steam by $10 USD. “Epic’s generous revenue terms are a game changer that will allow publishers to invest more into content creation, or pass on savings to the players,” says Deep Silver CEO Klemens Kundratitz.
As one could rightfully expect, Steam isn’t happy with the decision, as a notice on the game’s front page reads:
Later today, sales of Metro Exodus will be discontinued on Steam due to a publisher decision to make the game exclusive to another PC store. The developer and publisher have assured us that all prior sales of the game on Steam will be fulfilled on Steam, and Steam owners will be able to access the game and any future updates or DLC through Steam. We think the decision to remove the game is unfair to Steam customers, especially after a long pre-sale period. We apologize to Steam customers that were expecting it to be available for sale through the February 15th release date, but we were only recently informed of the decision and given limited time to let everyone know.
According to THQ Nordic’s Twitter, the decision was wholly Koch Media’s (a sister company responsible for Deep Silver’s games), as “Metro is their intellectual property.” It goes on to explain that while they “want to have the players choose the platform of their liking”, they will not “exclude the possibility of timed exclusives… in the future.”
Epic appears to be shaking things up even more than expected. Steam has such a foothold in the PC gaming marketplace that it seemed almost monolithic, but like any monolith, it can grow too large and forget what it was like early on. It seems like Epic has found the weak spot and is applying pressure gradually. Nobody can blame companies for swapping to another storefront if they are guaranteed more profits from that storefront—it just makes sense. However, the timing itself does seem suspicious when one considers the logistics such an undertaking would entail.
No matter how this duel turns out, it should be an interesting fight to the finish. Whether it ends with only one left standing or some kind of a draw, the next few years in PC gaming should be something to watch.
What do you think about the last-minute switch-up? Did you pre-order Metro: Exodus on Steam? How would you feel if you had? Let us know in the comments!
Metro: Exodus will be released Feb.15th, 2019 for PlayStation 4, Xbox One and PC.