Archive for the ‘epic’ Category

Angry Shenmue III backers can get refunds after Epic Game Store move

July 2nd, 2019
Artist's conception of Kickstarter backers about to open up their email, expecting a promised Steam key...

Enlarge / Artist's conception of Kickstarter backers about to open up their email, expecting a promised Steam key...

Back at E3, Shenmue III developer Ys Net and publisher Deep Silver revealed that the PC version of the long-awaited sequel would be available exclusively on the Epic Games Store. That upset many of the game's Kickstarter backers, who were promised during the 2015 Kickstarter funding effort that the game would be available via Steam (they were also promised a "December 2017" estimated delivery, but at this point we all know what Kickstarter promises tend to be worth).

After initial reports that Ys Net was denying refund requests following the move, the company announced in a Kickstarter update today that it will indeed offer refunds to affected backers who request one. The developer writes that it was originally still planning to offer a Steam key option to satisfy those backers, but "coordination with the sales policies of the involved companies was untenable, and as a result we are not able to make a day one distribution option for Steam keys available."

"That we are not able to offer Steam keys for Kickstarter rewards at the time of the game’s release is a great [disappointment] and inconvenience for those backers who were expecting to receive them," the update continues. "We deeply apologize for the unrest caused by the announcement."

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Paradox exec: Steam’s 30 percent fee is “outrageous”

July 1st, 2019
Paradox exec: Steam’s 30 percent fee is “outrageous”

(credit: Aurich Lawson)

Paradox Interactive (Cities: Skylines, Surviving Mars) seems to be getting fed up with the "standard" 30 percent fee on sales charged by Steam and many other game platforms. Speaking at a Gamelab panel hosted by GamesIndustry.biz last week, Paradox Chairman of the Board and former CEO Fredrik Wester called that state of affairs "outrageous," adding "I think the platform holders are taking too much money. Everyone in the press here, just quote me on that."

The 30 percent fee baseline, Wester argues, can trace its origins back to the economics of the home video market in the 1970s, when studios like Warner Bros. negotiated similar fees with retailers selling early VHS tapes. "That was physical. It cost a lot of money," he said. "This doesn't cost anything. So Epic has done a great job for the whole industry, because you get 88 percent. Fantastic move. Thank you very much."

Saying that it "doesn't cost anything" for stores like Steam to distribute and service a game is going a bit far. Beyond the simple costs associated with processing payments and providing download bandwidth, platforms often provide everything from multiplayer APIs to achievement and leaderboard systems to anti-cheat services and a whole host of other useful features. The Epic Game Store, with its undercutting 12 percent fees, does not provide many of these features as of yet (but the company does have a public roadmap for adding many of them in the near future).

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EA: Loot boxes actually “surprise mechanics” that are “ethical and fun”

June 20th, 2019
If this image seems irrelevant to the story, may I suggest you need to <a href='//www.youtube.com/watch?v=7xXY_5NLCNY'>catch up on your "Spaceship Surprise" viewing</a>.

Enlarge / If this image seems irrelevant to the story, may I suggest you need to catch up on your "Spaceship Surprise" viewing. (credit: YouTube / Sesame Street)

Representatives from EA and Epic Games spoke in front of a UK parliamentary panel Wednesday (transcript). They were there to defend the game industry against charges of addictive game mechanics and encouragement of gambling via loot boxes. But at least one of those representatives took issue with the basic premise that randomized item purchases should be labeled as "loot boxes" in the first place.

"That is what we look at as 'surprise mechanics,'" EA Legal and Government Affairs VP Kerry Hopkins told the panel when asked about the ethics of loot boxes. "It is important to look at this. If you go to—I don’t know what your version of Target is—a store that sells a lot of toys and you do a search for surprise toys, you will find that this is something people enjoy. They enjoy surprises. It is something that has been part of toys for years, whether it is Kinder eggs or Hatchimals or LOL Surprise!"

As implemented in a game like FIFA, Hopkins went on to argue that these surprise mechanics are "quite ethical and fun [and] enjoyable to people... We think it is like many other products that people enjoy in a very healthy way. They like the element of surprise.

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Posted in EA, epic, ethics, FIFA, fortnite, Gaming & Culture, loot box, parliament, surprise, uk | Comments (0)

Borderlands 3, other games temporarily removed from Epic Games Store sale [Updated]

May 17th, 2019
<em>Vampire: The Masquerade - Bloodlines 2</em> took itself off of the Epic Games Store temporarily rather than take part in the recent "Mega Sale"

Vampire: The Masquerade - Bloodlines 2 took itself off of the Epic Games Store temporarily rather than take part in the recent "Mega Sale"

[Update, May 18: Gearbox's Borderlands 3 is no longer available for pre-order on the Epic Games Store. The game was previously available for as low as $49.99 during the sale (before Epic's additional $10 off for all games over $14.99), down from its initial starting price of $59.99.

The Epic Games Store page for the game now simply lists a "Coming Soon" message where the pre-order links used to be. The "PC Digital" platform option has also been removed from the pre-order page on the official Borderlands webpage.

Epic and Gearbox representatives were not immediately available to comment on the pre-order pause for the Epic Games Store exclusive. But Gearbox CEO Randy Pitchford appears to have deleted a recent tweet that read "Save $10 on Borderlands 3! Also works if you have already pre-ordered, I’m told. Epic sure wants to earn your trust."]

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Epic discounts entire Game Store library in storewide “Mega Sale“ [Updated]

May 15th, 2019
Epic discounts entire Game Store library in storewide “Mega Sale“ [Updated]

Enlarge (credit: Epic)

[Update, May 16: The first ever "Epic Mega Sale" is now live, with discounts of up to 75% on every game in the Epic Games Store catalog through June 13. On top of those sale prices, purchasers receive an additional $10 off every game currently listed for at least $14.99 on the platform. That offer excludes DLC and in-game purchases, but includes pre-orders for upcoming titles (previous pre-orders will receive an automatic credit to reflect the savings).

Epic is also increasing the usual biweekly pace of its free game offers for the duration of the sale. Through June 13, a new free game will be offered on the service every week, starting with narrative adventure Stories Untold.]

Original Story

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Epic’s store continues to absorb PC gaming exclusives large and small

May 13th, 2019
<em>Breakpoint</em> is the first Ubsioft game in recent memory to never be made available on Steam.

Enlarge / Breakpoint is the first Ubsioft game in recent memory to never be made available on 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 1800 away 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.

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Epic acquires Rocket League studio, bringing game to Epic’s store this year

May 1st, 2019
The blue car represents Psyonix leaping over Steam's... orange car? Look, it's a loose metaphor. Work with me here, people.

Enlarge / The blue car represents Psyonix leaping over Steam's... orange car? Look, it's a loose metaphor. Work with me here, people.

In a surprise move today, Epic Games announced it has "signed a definitive agreement" to acquire San Diego-based Psyonix and its 132 employees, who make the hit car-based soccer game Rocket League.

As part of the deal, the PC version of Rocket League will be moving to the Epic Game Store "in late 2019," Epic announced. "In the meantime, it will continue to be available for purchase on Steam; thereafter it will continue to be supported on Steam for all existing purchasers." Psyonix says it will continue to sell and support Rocket League on other platforms, including the PS4, Xbox One, and Switch, going forward.

"In the short term, nothing will change at all!" Psyonix writes in a blog post accompanying the announcement. "We’re still committed to providing Rocket League with frequent updates that have new features, new content, and new ways to play the game for as long as you’ll have us."

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Gearbox’s Pitchford: Steam may be “a dying store” in 5 to 10 years

April 19th, 2019
"You can't get us on Steam, and that's a good thing."

Enlarge / "You can't get us on Steam, and that's a good thing."

Earlier this month, Gearbox drew some ire from Steam-loving Borderlands fans by announcing the next game in the series, due in September, would be exclusive to the Epic Games Store on PC. In a massive tweet thread earlier this week, though (helpfully collated in this reddit post), Gearbox founder and CEO Randy Pitchford defends that decision and highlights what he sees as the long-term positives that Epic's competition with Steam will bring to the industry.

While acknowledging that Epic's platform currently lacks many quality-of-life features available on Steam, Pitchford pointed to Epic's public road map for adding many of those features before September's Borderlands 3 launch. In fact, Pitchford sees the game's impending release as a "forcing function... that will, in turn, make all those features available on a faster timeline than otherwise possible... If I were to bet on this... Epic will inevitably surpass Valve on features and quality of service."

Pitchford acknowledges that publisher 2K and developer Gearbox could have hedged their bets by releasing on both Steam and Epic. But he added that he feels the entire industry will be better served in the long run if Borderlands 3's exclusivity can help make the Epic Games Store competitive with Steam. (The sizable investment Epic has made in paying to get exclusive content on its store probably didn't hurt, either)

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Posted in Borderlands, borderlands 3, epic, epic games store, Gaming & Culture, Gearbox, Pitchford, Randy Pitchford, Steam, Valve | Comments (0)

Borderlands 3 is the next big Epic Game Store exclusive

April 3rd, 2019
Follow us to a new PC platform!

Enlarge / Follow us to a new PC platform!

Borderlands 3 is the latest high-profile game to announce that it is ignoring Steam and other PC platforms in favor of an exclusive launch on the Epic Games Store. Developer Gearbox Software and publisher 2K revealed this morning that the game will be an Epic exclusive from its Sept. 13 launch through April 2020.

"The PC gaming community has been an important part of the success of the Borderlands series, and we are excited to be partnering with Epic who recognize its worldwide popularity and share in our commitment to bring Borderlands 3 to this rapidly expanding audience," 2K President David Ismailer said in a statement. "Our mission, in addition to delivering the most engaging and captivating entertainment experiences, is to embrace new distribution platforms that will contribute to our effort to grow the audience for Borderlands 3."

Borderlands 3 joins previous Epic exclusives including The Division 2 and Metro Exodus and upcoming PC releases including Control and Detroit: Become Human, which will only be available on Epic's storefront.

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Epic CEO: “You’re going to see lower prices” on Epic Games Store

March 20th, 2019
Epic CEO: “You’re going to see lower prices” on Epic Games Store

Enlarge (credit: Epic)

SAN FRANCISCO—The Epic Games Store's much-ballyhooed 88-percent revenue share has been great news for developers who are no longer forced to accept Steam's de facto 70-percent standard. But this new behind-the-scenes monetary split hasn't resulted in savings for gamers, who thus far have seen the same price tags for games on Epic's storefront as on Steam (when titles are available on both).

Speaking to Ars Technica, though, Epic co-founder and CEO Tim Sweeney says that players should look forward to paying less on the Epic Games Store in the future. While Epic leaves pricing decisions completely in developers' hands, Sweeney said, "after you go through several cycles of game developers making decisions, you're going to see lower prices as developers pass on the savings to customers, realizing they can sell more copies if they have a better price.

"This sort of economic competition is really healthy for the whole industry and will lead the industry to a better place for all developers and for gamers as well," he continued. "It's a supply-side thing, this revenue sharing, it's some sort of business arrangement between developers and a store that [a] gamer generally doesn't see... [but] as developers reinvest more of that 18 percent of additional revenue into building better games, that's key to the long-term health of the game industry that we all have to look out for."

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