Is this competition?

If you weren’t convinced by now that Epic has been pretty much moneyhatting games for their online game store. Then perhaps a lesson is in order. In a recent tweet, Co-founder of Epic Games, Tim Sweeny, has pretty much confirmed what many of the PC gaming community had already assumed.

It’s actually ironic how this tweet got started, as it wasn’t directly about Epic Games paying money to lock down games. Instead, it started out with people questioning why the Epic Games Store was snooping around and collecting data from those who installed the EGS launcher. Which is a story for another time, or you can just read about it here and here. During this tweet, Tim Sweeny shed some truths regarding the Epic Games Store, and even how much Epic Games is afraid of Valve’s Steam.

When we heard of The Division 2 being an Epic Games Store exclusive (outside of Uplay), many of us were suspicious of this. Especially since Epic Games had nothing to do with the game. So how did the game end up being pulled from Steam? Well, turns out that Epic approached Ubisoft about it and apparently a “co-exclusive” agreement was made. Right before the game was slated to be released onto Steam.

How convenient.

This is quite interesting as it was none other than Tim Sweeny who has been hyper-critical of Microsoft for preventing stores such as Steam from running versions of Windows. Something that never came to pass. IN fact, It’s been Microsoft who has been putting games published by Microsoft onto Steam. Quantum Break, Killer Instinct, Halo Wars 2, ReCore, Sunset Overdrive and more recently Halo: The Master Chief Collection. Going beyond that, it was Steam that dropped support for Windows XP and Vista, as did a few other companies such as Blizzard.

It also wasn’t so long ago that Tim Sweeny was complaining that Microsoft was trying to monopolize gaming development on PC. It’s ironic seeing the tables being turned around.

It’s due to this “co-exclusive” agreement that other online stores such as Greenmangaming, Humble Bundle, and Gamesplanet, weren’t able to sell The Division 2 once the game was released. Meaning PC gamers lost discounts that they typically see for countless other PC titles.

It was revealed that Epic Games sole reason for moneyhatting is because they’re afraid of Steam. Because of Steam’s feature set and offerings, something that the younger Epic Games Store can’t compete with. Or so it’s been said.

Releasing the Epic Game Store, in an unfinished state and using their money to buy up exclusives doesn’t seem very prosumer. If Epic Games was so worried about the state of their service, why not wait to release it? Steam wasn’t built in a day and it took many years for Steam to become what it is today. I still remember when Half-Life 2 was released and how bad Steam was then.  They had years to imitate what Steam has been offering users, instead, they’re using their money to try and close the gap.

The scary or more concerning part about this all is that Tim Sweeny confirms that this won’t be the last we hear of this. That Epic Games is committed to using their money to buy up exclusives and have them sold solely on the Epic Games Store. I for one don’t like this one bit.

Competition on the PC platform used to be about choice. With EGS entering the game, they’re introducing console-like tactics where Sony and Microsoft would fight to keep games off of the competing console. For something like that, even though I disagree with it, it works. The PC, on the other hand, has long been open, where games were typically available on multiple services (not counting MS published titles). If they weren’t, they were at least sold other other storefronts, where people could decide on where they wanted to purchase them from. It’s also just one platform. The PC isn’t competing against the PC. I’m not sure how Epic Games hasn’t gotten this memo.

division 2 logo

With Epic Games throwing their money around, that has seemingly stopped. Just look at what happened with The Division 2 or Phoenix Point. If they grab a game, you can believe that your discounts go away, and games will be exclusive either for a lengthy period or forever. 

This is not the way this should be heading. I understand that Epic Games wants people to use their storefront, but using bullying tactics isn’t the correct play. Locking games behind an inferior service, and acting like you’re doing wrong is, well, hypocritical.

At most, they’re upsetting the very people that they need to attract. Sure, buying up exclusives may bring in some money but it’s only a matter of time before people start to ignore those exclusive titles. Or going one step further and removing the Epic Games launcher from their computers.

Could you imagine if Steam started doing what Epic Games is doing? Or another company? Things could get really ugly, really fast. I’m definitely not looking forward to that.

Sound off on how you feel about this in the comments. We’d love to know what you think about it all.

About The Author

Keith Mitchell
Editor-in-chief and all-around good guy!

Keith Mitchell is the Founder and Editor in Chief of The Outerhaven. A grizzled IT professional during the day, but a passionate lover of video games after his 9-5 grid. Loves playing the Dark Souls series and has been gaming since he was 6 years old. Available for podcasts upon request.