24

Main Course

April 8, 2019 by Tim

I want to like the Epic Games Launcher.

I want to like it because I want developers to earn more money from their games, and Epic takes a significantly lower cut than Steam. I also think it would be healthy for Steam to have some real competition.

I want to like the Epic launcher for these reasons… but I don’t like the way they’re doing business otherwise.

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Setting aside the rumors that the launcher is spyware (I’ve seen the evidence, it’s concerning, but not conclusive in my opinion), or that Epic is secretly being controlled by a Chinese super-corporation (I’ve seen no evidence of this, but Tencent is obviously an investor), or that the software is a barebones mess (it is, perhaps I’ve been spoiled by Steam, and I’m sure eventually they’ll get it all fixed, but right now it sucks). The buying of exclusive rights to games to force people to adopt their launcher rubs me the wrong way, though.

To be clear, I don’t hate the idea of exclusives as a whole. They exist, they’re a core part of the video game ecosystem, they’re a great way to sell a platform, and in a lot of instances, it can lead to games that wouldn’t otherwise exist (when a console bankrolls production of a game in return for exclusivity, for instance). It can be a healthy way to promote competition, and can lift up developers in the process.

In other cases, the exclusivity makes sense. I really dislike the Origin launcher, and I could take or leave Uplay, but I get that I have to use them to play an EA or Ubisoft game; those companies make the games and the launchers.

What I don’t like is when a company shells out a ton of cash to an otherwise unaffiliated developer solely to prevent the customer from having options. I don’t like when Microsoft does it with a game like Tomb Raider, and I don’t like it here. I don’t even play the Metro series, but the way the latest Metro game suddenly went exclusive to Epic two weeks before the game’s launch felt a little sketchy. And now Borderlands is exclusive for the first six months. I understand the business appeal for the developer (likely a big bag of cash up front), but that doesn’t mean I have to like it as a consumer.

And while I may not like it, I’ll also be the first to admit that I’m probably not going to do shit about it. They snagged one of the few game franchises I cannot simply ignore. If it were a single player game, I might decide to vote with my wallet, and simply not play it until next April. But Borderlands is a co-op game, and if the other three friends in my group decide not to wait, I’m not sure I’m prepared to miss out on a game (and time with friends) that I’m looking forward to. I’ll sneer, and grumble and gripe, and buy it anyway.

Which is exactly what Epic is counting on, and that irritates me more than being forced to download some clunky software nobody likes.

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MRD
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MRD

What’s that? Not going to be on Steam for an extra six months? Hm. I hope Gearbox doesn’t mind waiting six months to get my money.

Drake
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Drake

7 months actually. September to next April is 7 months

Kenodil
Guest
Kenodil

Competition is good, no question. But what Epic does here is “time-bound monopolization”, so there is no real competition. I will not throw my money at them to support this, nope. The 6 months waiting for Borderlands is not a real problem. Even better, as soon as it appears on Steam it is complete with all dlc and stuff. And it will be 50% off already because its not a new release. Now tell me how Gearbox has the advantage with Epic and not with Steam besides no review bombing?

Dullahan
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Dullahan

I fully agree with you on most of these points, except that I would really like to see some of that so-called evidence I hear about from time to time.
Someone posted some marked up stuff from 4chan or something along those likes on reddit a while ago, (screenshots about what files it was allegedly attaching itself to, that it was manipulating certificates) but that was easily debunked by two people within 10 minutes of it being posted.

So I’d be interested in knowing whether there is more to this story.

Tumbleweed
Guest
Tumbleweed

Nope, not getting my money.

Gamebecile
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Gamebecile

The biggest issue seems to be the whole spyware thing. But then, what application isn’t a giant bundle of spyware in this day and age?

Jsn
Guest
Jsn

Well im not giving them a chance, a company shoudnt be able bribe companies to be exclusive. So ill wait and play it on the “Right” launcher which is Steam. (Thats my opinion.)

Illsteward
Guest
Illsteward

I just don’t understand why so many people bend over for Steam as the best launcher. I have had SO many issues with it, from game codes not working and corrupted unrepairable DLLs, to nearly facing criminal charges because Steam reported my purchase as fraudulent and for whatever reason claimed my banking card is from some obscure African country, that I am glad for Origin and other launchers to exist. I have about three hundred games on Steam, used it extensively for a few years, but I wouldn’t want to go nowhere near that ridiculous steam(ing) pile of crapware ever… Read more »

Glaedien
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Glaedien

That sounds like an utter mess >_>;; As for defending steam, I’d say that the two biggest things are that~ ~Most people haven’t had such dramatic issues, and it’d be just as easy for such nonsense to happen on pretty much any launcher. When the experience is generally positive, or at least neutral, there’s little incentive to move elsewhere. The devil you know, and all that. ~Steam has been around for what, 15 odd years? It’s familiar, it has established what sort of features we expect/are used to. It holds our libraries, friends lists, play time, and other vanities. If… Read more »

Christian Dannie Storgaard
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Christian Dannie Storgaard

There’s also the point that – and I know I’m in the minority but hear me out – being exclusive to the Epic store locks out Linux / SteamOS users that would otherwise have been able to play the game in question using Steam’s excellent Steam Play / Proton. Metro Exodus is such a case, where reports from the Linux users that had pre-ordered on Steam (remember, the rest of the series is already on Linux) confirm that it ran perfectly on Linux on launch but there’s no way for anyone who didn’t pre-order to buy it for the platform.… Read more »

Anonymous coward
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Anonymous coward

Yeah, the lack of Linux support annoys me a lot. Especially since Epic used to support Linux in their game in the past but now don’t seem to give a damn, so it’s likely not just a temporary thing.

Glaedien
Guest
Glaedien

You’ve summed my feelings up on the matter pretty well. Apparently Epic is also paying for the Unreal Engine licensing fees in addition to taking a smaller cut, so it really is an attractive option to devs. I’m all for devs getting a bigger cut, and steam having some sort of competition but… I just can’t like how Epic is going about it. It feels like first and foremost, they’re selling their platform to devs, and the consumers are a far lesser consideration. At the same time though, I can’t imagine any other way a third party competing launcher could… Read more »

Matthew
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Matthew

I’m not big on Borderlands but have played it previously and was quite interested as I have gaming friends that I can play with now. Not only will I buy it on Steam, but there’s a good chance I won’t get it on Steam now either. Fine, Epic kinda wins that battle, but the biggest loser is Gearbox. There’s a good chance i’ll spend that money on other games on Steam anyway.

Alrighty
Guest
Alrighty

1100 games on Steam and I couldn’t care less about the free launcher exclusivity. I might be very slightly biased because I already used the EGL long ago for UE4 and Paragon, but I don’t really see the big deal in having to use another digital game store. Considering there is very little investment in actually doing it. I see a lot of fallacious or hysterical arguments made against it too (exclusivity is not competition, Tencent owns Epic, slippery slope with exclusivity, it’s spyware). A lot of people are shouting that they’re abiding by their principles, but as soon as… Read more »

WereCatf
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WereCatf

I’ve been REALLY excited for Metro Exodus, Phoenix Point, Borderlands 3 and Outer Worlds, but unlike Tim, I am actually willing to wait until those games stop being exclusive to Epic Store; I’ll just bide my time and buy them on GOG or Steam when available. Since this is about principles, I am refusing to pirate the games, either. That said, I don’t actually expect my stubbornness to change anything. I mean, it’s not like Epic cares — they are already swimming in money and will continue to swim in money, with or without me purchasing from them. No, I… Read more »

Sanquin
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Sanquin

@Glaedien This is exactly what they’re going for. Right now you’re saying you’ll ONLY buy borderlands 3 on their launcher because it’s a game you really want. But what about when the next game you really want is also an Epic exclusive? And the one after that? And after that? Plus you even said you might buy the game -twice- once it comes out on steam. As far as Epic and the devs are concerned, they’ve won big with you if you do that. Because 1: You’ll use the Epic launcher. And 2: You’ll even give the devs money twice… Read more »

Glaedien
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Glaedien

That’s the thing, like Tim and yourself, I’ll be getting it on Epic only if my group decides to. I don’t play much multiplayer, so anything else that Epic wants to hold onto I can, and will, wait for. Buying Borderlands twice admittedly isn’t the greatest thing in the world, but I’m happy to support the devs, even if I’d rather do it in a different manner. Epic is counting on using these exclusives to get a foot in the door, but they have no incentives to keep me there any longer than I have to be. Here’s to hoping… Read more »

Takoyakyono
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Takoyakyono

Do you seriously think Tencent is “Just an investor”? Everything you do on Epic goes into a big ol’ database, including all of your personal details and banking information.

Tencent works FOR the Chinese Communist Party (Only way for big corporations to exist in China) Tencent WILL give everything in that database to the CCP.

I for one will wait six months for the Steam release.

xvasek
Guest
xvasek

Epic Games launcher uses bundled web browser, which wants your credit card number and you can’t verify certificates. Moreover, it also forces you to use your local currency and gates’s exchange rates. As Kryten said: Now, am I really the only one here who finds that just a little bit tacky?

(OK, they also need to pay the bills, but if I can avoid that, I’m out. And to be honest, Steam also uses it’s own browser, but at least it accepts EUR without conversion and you can buy games from your regular browser.)

Business as usual
Guest
Business as usual

I’m surprised it hasn’t happened sooner. Same business model as Netflix etc.

Hunter
Guest
Hunter

Epic has claimed several games I was looking forward to. I shall also be holding onto my money instead of going to the Epic store, however I have no illusions regarding whether or not it will make any difference. It won’t. I hear people screaming about boycotts all the time. I never see any substantial boycott take place. I could be wrong, but for the most part I am right.

FITCamaro
Guest
FITCamaro

I see many of the same complaints about the Epic store that we saw when Steam first came out. I look forward to the increased competition. And think they’ll get it worked out.

Myrtheus
Guest
Myrtheus

Thank God the new Dragon Age will be from Origin. I’m not a fan of everyone having a launcher. I despise every network having a streaming service when Hulu was just fine, looking at you CW. (and of course the many others out there that did the same, but CW… put ads back in my shows and I pay Hulu to have ad free content, but I am derailing myself here.) Just go through Steam. I also hate exclusive titles and I hate how there is no communication cross platform. I have a PS4 my buddies have an X-Box. I… Read more »

Casra
Guest
Casra

BL3 I could ignore. Outer Worlds….

Jason
Guest
Jason

I’m just bypassing all of these issues by playing it on console. I play on xbox and almost all of my friends do too so having to sign up for an arbitrary service to download exclusively from them isn’t on my table.

Tristan
Guest
Tristan

Yeah, definitely avoided an exclusivity digital platform issue, by sticking with an exclusive hardware platform ;).

Kenju
Guest
Kenju

To anyone that wants or needs evidence that the Epic launcher is trouble, here is a vid that breaks it down and goes into detail over just what it does. The fact that Epic’s CEO actually apologized for some of the problems adds a lot of weight to the argument that it’s trouble. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rB6i6dyBGY8 As for BL3, I’m getting it on console, and I urge others who absolutely can not wait to get their hands on it to do the same. I get that PC is the master race (I’m part of it) but this is BORDERLANDS, graphics aren’t exactly… Read more »

Randalf
Member
Randalf

It’ll be a cold day in hell before I play a shooter on a console..

I’m not against consoles, but shooters are best with a mouse and keyboard..

Kaitensatsuma
Guest
Kaitensatsuma

I mean, one thing that people maybe understate in the whole Epic vs Steam thing is…well, honestly, take a look at how many people are using Steam, how many Developers, how many Publishers.

Maintaining that library and each individual user’s library, and everything else cannot be cheap. It’s a small miracle that Steam hasn’t started actually charging users for some sort of “Steam Premium” version, though they likely know the second they do that their playerbase will drop through the floor like a superheated chunk of metal drops through a sheet of ice.

GamerLEN
Guest
GamerLEN

I’ve got a couple games on Epic so far, Operencia and Slime Rancher, and… honestly, I kinda want Epic to succeed if only because Steam has gone so far downhill in terms of quality control. More often than not my entire queue is RPG Maker games and Hentai puzzles without anything actually worth looking at. Its like looking at Newgrounds back in the early 00s, and I find myself giving less and less of a shit about the store itself. Steam NEEDS some good competition to motivate Valve into fixing this mess, they’ve got a monopoly right now and if… Read more »

Ancoron
Guest
Ancoron

And what do you want steam to do about that? These games are only brought to you because you probably liked or bought other games in the past that are like that or very similar. You have a lot of Options to Customizing your store page and you can exclude games you don`t want to see. Always crying for steam to exclude games from their game store is a litte cheap when you aren`t willing to do the same thing for all the other stores that are out there. I can remember a time in the past that many developer… Read more »

Randalf
Member
Randalf

No one denies that Steam needs competition.. But this isn’t competition, I can’t choose where to buy a product.

This is anti-consumer backroom deals, not competition..

dennis
Guest
dennis

the major issue i have with Origin or EA if you will is every damn week my damn account gets hacked and stolen, yet i have 2FA enabled and my password is 19 char/nums long and isn’t in any dictionary, and isnt used for anything other than origin. yet every week i try to login i have to call their support cause my accounts been hacked some how and has had email and password changed. than to add salt to the injury. the only appology i get if any is a 5% off coupon that is only good for games… Read more »

Daniel
Guest
Daniel

I have to say origins launcher isn’t as bad as it used to be. Uplay on the other hand is still terrible imho. Steam & battle.net are pretty good but still have a few issues at times so I don’t think there is a perfect launcher yet. Im kind of scared about installing the Epic games launcher after hearing all the news but im sure once my head is turned (insert head turn meme here) by a new game ill be straight in there. But then with the diverse hardware and OS they have to contend with id be surprised… Read more »

Eldest Gruff
Member
Eldest Gruff

What I don’t get is why Epic Game Store’s so gung-ho on spending all their money on getting exclusives, instead of maybe improving their store to have a few features and be a little less miserable of an experience, and then getting exclusives?

I mean, what’s the point in forcing everyone to try your store, only to give them a horrible experience? You’re supposed to attract customers, not convince them it was a mistake to even try your service.

MightyThor34
Guest
MightyThor34

To be fair they have a bit of time to before borderlands so maybe that is the plan?

Paisley Park
Guest
Paisley Park

I have no intention of putting up with Epic Games. Enough databases contain my financial info, so if I can keep that number down, then I will.

I’m thankful my friends are also going to wait to play it. And when it does get on Steam ,it’ll be cheaper with more to do. No downside here.

Mitoni
Guest
Mitoni

As a software developer, their launcher raises too many red flags for me. Why would you make a local copy of steam user information, rather than go through the steam API once a used authorized shedding of their steam info? The API is secure, encrypted, requires the user authorization to release the information, and is what is meant to be used to get steam user info, with permission. There is no excuse to make a copy on files on the PC that they didn’t install, without notifying the user. Their launcher and their policies are the only reason I haven’t… Read more »

Cori
Guest
Cori

I get exclusives in a platform. I get exclusives from same developer. But Epic is neither a platform nor the game’s developer. It’s just a shitty launcher.

I’ll grab any free game Epic gives me, but I wont buy any shit on their store.

Ben
Guest
Ben

Here is the thing about the “exclusive” stuff. It’s not the same as “console exclusives” Those have been around a very long time, and the PC is perhaps the worst “offender” when it comes this (how many games throughout its history are PC only?).

What Epic has is a store front that is claiming exclusivity. A better comparison would be if Gamestop, or Bestbuy, or [insert physical store location here] purchased exclusive rights to sell a game.

Skorpeyon
Guest
Skorpeyon

I agree wholeheartedly with that analogy. They do store exclusives with other genres like board games at Target, Funko Pops at literally every store, etc. They’ve done it with preorder/collector’s edition/digital items at various stores already, I’m not really surprised it’s finally coming to the digital storefronts for full games as well. We, as consumers (as a whole) have already proven we’ll kowtow to it, no matter how much we bitch about it.

Skorpeyon
Guest
Skorpeyon

I bought Borderlands 2 preorder and, frankly, regretted it. I’m not just waiting on the Steam release, I’m waiting on a better deal on the game. I enjoy it, but I play mostly single-player, so whether or not anyone else is playing by the time I get my hands on it, I won’t care.

Hendrik Drosselmeyer
Guest
Hendrik Drosselmeyer

Well my friend and I got really hyped about BL3, we played the shit out of BL2 for sure.

But the moment we got the whole “Epic Exclusive” thing, out hype went away. It may be a great game. But we can wait 6 months.

Typo
Guest
Typo

*gripe

smitty_c22
Guest
smitty_c22

Or you can wait for it to come out on console… nobody says you HAVE to buy it on PC

Randalf
Member
Randalf

I’ll never play a shooter on a console though.. Never gotten comfortable with aiming with a thumb joystick..

Mitoni
Guest
Mitoni

I just wish the time gating of some of these wasn’t so severe. I mean, on the upside, by the time I play Satisfactory on Steam, all the bugs will have been worked out, but a year-long exclusivity deal is crazy! They must be paying big bucks to get those deals for devs to forego multi-launcher releases for so long. Is anyone gonna care about their game in a year? They hope, but they don’t know.

Phy
Guest
Phy

Personally i’m going to wait for them to be on Steam. I don’t mind the wait.

Ben H.
Guest
Ben H.

I think this is hilarious. PC gamers hate Steam. They hate it because Steam allows games where you rape women, beat up minorities, fall through the world plain after a few feet, asset flips galore, it is impossible to find indie games without a lot of work, and there is absolutely no QA/QC from Valve. Epic doesn’t have a shopping cart. The pure and distilled rage directed at Epic is truly mind-blowing. Blizzard had battle.net back in the 1990’s and here we are shouting about having multiple launchers. This isn’t even like PC gamers don’t get to have Borderlands 3.… Read more »

Alfie
Guest
Alfie

Ok, this is probably the most garbage “hot take” I’ve seen in the whole section so far. >PC gamers hate Steam Off to a great start! They don’t, they love it actually but go on, I’d like to hear more of your insane takes! >They hate it because Steam allows games where you rape women, beat up minorities Literally WHAT? This is some mighty made-up bullsh*t you’re coming up with, but go on. >asset flips galore Not gonna defend asset flips here, they’re trash and I want them removed aswell. > it is impossible to find indie games without a… Read more »

Tales
Guest
Tales

I miss the days when PC games were on CD/DVD and you the only thing you had to worry about was the servers being shut down for multiplayer games, nowadays if they don’t want to even support the single player aspect and remove the data chances are you will never be able to play the game ever again.

Grumpy McGrumpFace
Guest
Grumpy McGrumpFace

I am old enough to remember when steam first came to into existence and it was a pile of crap then but has gotten some polish over the years. Epic is no way different, polish _might_ come later. However, the fact of the matter is that these platforms at anytime revoke your ability to play these games through their platform by disabling you account. If you have 3, 10, 300 games and they disable your account, you just lost that investment. Some have discovered that either by their own hand or through unfortunate happenstance. In the end it doesn’t really… Read more »

Vedrit
Guest
Vedrit

I don’t get the hate. It’s not like a game you’ve been waiting to get on XBox suddenly became exclusive to PS, or vice versa. You don’t have to drop $400 to get Borderlands or Metro or Phoenix Point or any other temporary exclusive. It’s one launcher. Sure, it doesn’t have all the features Steam has brought everyone to expect, and in that regard it’s kind of doing what Anthem pulled (not learning from established examples). But at the same rate, it’s at least better than UPlay or Origin – in my opinion – simply because it’s not tied to… Read more »

Randalf
Member
Randalf

People hate it because it’s anti-consumer. This kind of backroom deals is not to our benefit. It’s not forcing two companies to compete for the customers, it’s just forcing customers to buy it on one of the platforms or wait for 6+ months.

And if this works, Epic is unlikely to stop once they’ve built up a solid customer base. They’ll just keep buying out developers, and then Steam will be forced to do the same.

No real competition on prices, just who can buy out the most popular games.

Randalf
Member
Randalf

Also, that independent game library exists.. I think it’s called Playnite or something.

KaoGen
Guest
KaoGen

Uplay actually has a fairly good connectivity within itself though. Ill admit it was kind of “but why though?” when it first came out, but with the addition of achievements earning you points you can spend on stuff for your games/store discounts, and minor rewards based on other games you own, it feels a little more of a decent idea.Origin is still a joke, though.

Garitheous
Guest
Garitheous

I had/have and Epic account that I used until I realized I disliked Fortnite, a lot. It was bombarded by someone trying to guess my password until Epic locked it. I have submitted multiple requests to get this fixed and have received only automated responses, including a “How did we do” survey. That alone makes me not want to deal with Epic.

KaoGen
Guest
KaoGen

Wait, what. Why would they lock the account if someone was trying to guess it? That makes no sense. Im not saying youre lying, but that seems like a dumb reaction of Epics part.

Ven
Guest
Ven

Randy Pitchford is also doing some WEIRD stuff on Twitter, and acting in a very aggressive, unprofessional manner. If he can’t control himself, why not hire a PR guy to operate his twitter account for him? At any rate, I think my love affair with Borderlands is done. They don’t have the same writers as 1 and 2, and as far as I’m concerned, we killed Handsome Jack. Plot’s done and over with.

Nick
Guest
Nick

Most games I end up playing months or years after their release. The exception is games along the lines of XCOM. I backed Phoenix Point, which originally I was going to receive on GOG. Since then it has changed to be a one year exclusive on Epic. I hope to see the Epic launcher fixed, but when Phoenix Point comes out, I’ll look into what the issues are and probably download it anyway. My preference is always GOG, but I’ll give other launchers a chance if I have to for the games I want.

Mad
Guest
Mad

Buy it on Amazon instead.

C Sheridan
Guest
C Sheridan

I’m in agreement with you and Rhykker (spelling?). I’m going to be purchasing it on Steam for PC. It’s where the rest of my BL games are at the moment. Blizzard and Origin are the only other launchers I have on my system and even that is getting too spread out. I have a lot of desire to purchase my games and maintain them within a single launcher. I’d love it if the devs out there could figure out a way to make it happen where I can own a game via a developer and the different launchers out there… Read more »

VanillaCokeMule
Member
VanillaCokeMule

Fuck. I was hoping this comments section would help me since I generally respect the opinions of people here. Unfortunately it’s more of the same mix of “EGS makes SHODAN look like Alexa” and “I support Epic if only because fuck Steam” and no actual concrete information. I jumped the gun upon hearing about this stupidity and installed EGS before hearing about all these alleged (and, if at all true, deeply troubling) issues and I’ve been paralyzed with indecision ever since. I’ve not put any financial information on there yet as I have no plan to buy anything on there… Read more »

KaoGen
Guest
KaoGen

If it comforts your decision at all, the EGS uses Paypal as an option, and they arent tied to Epic in any way.

SanRobin
Guest
SanRobin

Joke’s on Epic, I won’t be able to play high-end games since I’m abroad for my studies at that time.
So there.
Ha…
haha…

I really want to play BL3 🙁

Hadoque
Guest
Hadoque

I suppose in a way I should be glad my gaming time is so limited I can fill it (ten times over) with my library on GOG. At least this kind of 1st world problem is then…not a problem.

Sitting on my DRM-free high horse is way easier that way too. ?

Scortch
Guest
Scortch

Seems I’m echoing a lot of what is said here, which is I’m all for steam getting some competition, but not against Epic. I’ve waited this long, I’ll wait another seven months for it to come out on steam, I just don’t trust epic right now, and I don’t like the practices they are doing to try and win this battle.