Deep Silver's decision to leave Steam in the post-apocalyptic marketplace wasteland is about to ramp up even further. After surprising users and the industry with its announcement that Metro Exodus would be a timed exclusive for the Epic Games Store, the official Metro Exodus account has confirmed that those buying physical copies won't even get Steam keys with their purchase.
Physical copies of games have shipped with digital keys for a long time, so it's not a surprise that Exodus - which will take up about 53GB of space on Xbox One and 59GB on PC, although the initial download is likely to be less than that - isn't shipping with a physical disc. But rather than sending out copies of Steam keys, as has been customary given Steam's traditional dominance, the developers confirmed that users buying physical copies will get keys for Epic's store instead.
Your physical copy of Metro Exodus will now ship with an Epic key
— Metro Exodus (@MetroVideoGame) January 29, 2019
The news comes not long after Valve's public complaint about publisher Deep Silver's decision to remove Exodus from Steam - a decision 4A Games confirmed was taken by the publisher, and not themselves.
Those who pre-ordered through Steam will still have their pre-orders honoured, and Exodus will officially launch on Steam a year after its global release on February 14. That's of little comfort to users who specifically prefer Steam: apart from the power of incumbency, Steam's support for a broad range of local currencies means some games there are substantially cheaper depending on that region's purchasing power compared to the USD. (In Australia, we saw minimal difference once the Aussie dollar was officially supported but the situation is far more stark for gamers in Brazil, whose USD conversion is more stark.)
The decision has copped a heavy amount of flak already, particularly as users compare the various features of Steam versus the vastly less mature Epic Games Store, which only officially went live at the end of last year. Metro Exodus is currently selling for $US59 on the Epic Games Store. Third-party resellers are offering the game for cheaper if you search online, but those are all sites offering Steam keys. Whether any of those keys will be honoured could also be another interesting twist in Exodus's rapid departure from Steam.