Epic Says Its Store Won't Sell 'Porn Games Or Bloatware'

It’s been a big day for the Epic Games Store. During its GDC keynote, Epic announced a boatload of new exclusives (including Detroit: Become An Epic Games Store Exclusive) and a deal with Humble.

Momentum appears to be on the store’s side, with Epic now touting strong early sales and a more curated approach than that of its main competitor, Steam.

Love or hate the current barebones Epic store, you can’t deny that a) it’s making waves, and b) Epic execs sure have been talking about those waves. Today, during the keynote, Epic Games Store head Steve Allison boasted that Metro Exodus—which became a last-second Epic Games Store exclusive, prompting an unusually pointed message from Valve and review bombs from Steam users—sold 2.5 times as many copies at launch as its predecessor, Metro: Last Light, did on Steam.

“It’s really about your games, and not about the store you sell it on,” said Allison.

The Outer Worlds Is The Latest Game To Abandon Steam (For A Year)

Amidst all the news of Detroit: Become Human and Quantic Dream's other titles making their way to PC, a substantially larger bit of news dropped: The Outer Worlds, the next RPG from the makers of Fallout: New Vegas, won't be coming to Steam for a year.

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This, in conjunction with Epic’s 88 per cent revenue share (as opposed to Steam’s default 70 per cent), will likely make for intriguing news to game makers worried about backlash and a potential loss of exposure that, some feared, could result from moving from Steam to the Epic Games Store.

That said, Epic did not provide actual sales numbers, and it’s worth noting that Last Light came out in 2013, during a different era of PC gaming. On top of that, Exodus was a much larger production and got a marketing push from its publisher to match.

Going forward, Epic said it intends to focus on quality over quantity—or, more precisely, quality over anime porn. “We’ll have a quality standard that doesn’t accept crappy games,” CEO Tim Sweeney told PC Gamer. “We’ll accept reasonably good quality games, of any scale, whether small indie games to huge triple-A games, and we’ll take everything up to, like, an R-rated movie or an M-rated game.”

He went on to draw the line at irritating or illicit apps that piggyback on others—bloatware, as they’re sometimes known—and other overtly explicit or low-quality games: “A GTA game would be fine to us, but Epic’s not going to distribute porn games or bloatware or asset flips, or any sort of thing that’s meant to shock players. The PC’s an open platform, and if we don’t distribute it in our store you can still reach consumers directly.”

In contrast, Steam has adopted an (almost) anything-goes policy over the past year, with exceptions stemming from games that are “illegal, or straight up trolling” or, evidently, people getting really, really mad at Valve.

The two companies are increasingly opposed in their approaches, recently coming to figurative blows over usage of users’ data, as well.

The Epic Games Store is still very new, having only launched in December of last year. It’s managed to lasso a handful of high-profile exclusives, but it’s still relatively lacking in games and features. It remains to be seen whether Epic can make good on its promises and maintain its momentum, but it’s certainly shaking things up.


Comments

    OK for a start "people getting really, really mad at Valve" links to the Rape Day article about said game, that is not trolling or illegal? Instead you believe they pulled it becuase of negative feedback.

    I'm pretty sure when they get bigger the standards will drop, nark my words there will be porn games on there store

      Epic is 100% owned by Tencent.

      Tencent is a Chinese company.

      The Chinese government banned all pornography online.

      So no, there will probably not ever be porn games on Epic's store, unless this situation changes significantly.

        It says 40%, which is significant but that just means different content depending on region.

          Yeah, you're right. 40% only, I thought it was 100%.

          Either way they're the biggest shareholder in Epic.

            It's irrelevant how much epic is owned by China, the kind of games that Nathan doesn't like mentioned above that epic is virtue signalling about which leads Nathan to shill for them will end up on the store because Epic won't leave money on the table.

            Epic is proudly anti consumer yet Nathan will shill for them just because they are woke on anime porn, give me a break.

            once they establish brand loyalty with a large enough audience they will stop being so selective, they will continue to use exclusive titles to try and grow their audience.

            the whole we are woke to anime porn and make a stand against bloatware is a stunt to pull people who are disenchanted with steam specifically because of these issues onto the Epic store which will look just like steam in a few years, and it will work.

            any negative situation that steam gets into will be pounced on by Epic to take the opposite stance to capatalise on any outrage defectors, and every time it happens people like Nathan will shill for them because it has the nice side effect of signalling his own virtue, something Nathan loves to do.

            bottom line is that 40% owned by China is not going to allow epic to leave money on the table by not selling anime porn to the rest of the world.

    Makes sense not to have porn games on the platform. Epic Store's biggest game is Fortnite after all.

    ...game makers worried about backlash and a potential loss of exposure that, some feared, could result from moving from Steam to the Epic Games Store. This is a nonsensical statement. As that little Mexican girl said, "Por que no los dos?" If you are worried about sales on Steam eating your profits then sell lower on the Epic store to attract people there. From some math I saw today, if you sold a game on Steam for $60 then you can sell up to $13 less on Epic before you start losing money. Just because Epic is promoting exclusivity it doesn't mean you have to be.

    Also I laugh every time I read that ridiculous Metro statistic Epic seems to think means something. Different times aside, the game was marketed a heck of lot more, there are more gamers these days, the series has grown in popularity and 2.5 times could equal 5 for all we know. Epic don't seriously believe that it has anything to do with it being exclusive to their store do they?

      When they announced Epic Game Store, they saod it will be a positive disruption to the gane industry by offering a better experience and by taking a lesser cut of the sales...

      But its store, customer sevice and launcher is poor, offers no features a gamer wants like cloudsaves and community, and the only disruption it has demonstrated is locking titles under one year exclusives by paying undisclosed amounts and obfuscating sales figures while throwing shade at Steam.

      I had hopes Epic would be great at this... but its really being an unpleasent experience having it join the games market.

      Nah, it's not about Epic believing it, it's about investors and developers believing it.

      From some math I saw today, if you sold a game on Steam for $60 then you can sell up to $13 less on Epic If this was how they had approached things, I doubt anyone would have had a problem with them. Instead, they lock games away aggressively, dont provide anywhere near as good a service as existing platforms do.

      A 1 year exclusive period is going to hurt these developers. I have no interest in buying Metro now, and by the time it comes out on the platform I choose to use by preference, it will be a non-starter, because (and I doubt this will be a shock) IT WILL BE A YEAR OLD!!! There will be newer games to play, so why would I go back a year to find something? Best that will happen will be a copy on sale, or maybe a second hand copy on console.

      That same philosophy can be applied to every Epic exclusive. They arent offering a better service, they are offering a worse one. And punishing the player for it. I know where my coin will be going and its not into Epic.

        Rumour has it that (like consoles) Epic is offering substantial revenue guarantees and incentives to attract these exclusives.

        From everything I've seen, Epic offers the 88% revenue split with no strings attached. If you're seeing games exclusive to Epic's store, then either (a) Epic is giving them something on top of the 88%, or (b) the developer has decided not to ship on other stores. In the latter case the $13 figure might be relevant, but it isn't for the former.

        From the sound of it, Epic has been handing out generous advances to many of the devs who have released games exclusively on the platform. In other cases like Skybound Games, they said they went exclusive in thanks for Epic helping them complete the The Walking Dead series after Telltale went under (i.e. the final two episodes may not have been completed without Epic).

          Fair points. I don't think it changes what I said though. If they're advances, then the developers aren't making any more money, just getting a guarantee. I vaguely remember Metro getting a $10m payment, so lets look at that.

          Say they sell 1 million copies through Epic. Excellent, that's ~$30m profit to be split around - 12% to Epic, etc etc. But that advance gets taken out along the way, so they end up with no more than they would have gotten without the advance.

          Cheaper to do business with the platform, but that's about it. And they wouldn't have any sales on the much bigger Steam platform. That's where I think developers will suffer.

          A 12 month exclusion is massive. Your main sales happen in the first 3 months for these big AAA games. Right now, they're limiting that cherry period to a new platform, which is getting plenty of negative feedback from gamers, and blocking the game from being seen by the casual player.

          Heres the tricky part. There are nearly the same amount of people using both platforms. Epic is showing as about 85m people, Steam has about 90m unique users per month. But Epic would be majorly Fortnite players forced onto it so its hard to say how many use the store, which is the important part. It also doesn't figure people like me that are solely on Epic to get the free games. Note to self: Oxenfree is available today.

          Either way, by every expectation that means less sales than they would have if they'd gone through Steam as well. They'd know all that, so there must be some big incentive to just toss that away. If they wanted to send the message to Steam that they aren't doing a good enough job, stick with them, charge the full $60 or whatever, but charge $50 for the version on Epic.

          People comfy with sticking with Steam can still get the game, people looking for value go to Epic, and there isn't anywhere near the negative feedback going around. Which increases sales across the board.

          Instead, they're leaving sales on the table, and expect them to happen 12 months from now. That's not going to happen. None of these games so far have been Must Haves and forced gamers to go there. Something like Cyberpunk 2077 would, but that's not happening either.

          And that represents another problem. That game will go through GoG (and others, they aren't silly), and get a lot of sales on that platform. Which is one of the platforms under pressure over all this. Not Steam, but the competition, working in a reasonably niche market of offering dated games we still love to play. Kill that off, you lose the good sort of competition. And risk one of the better games makers going under.

          None of that is good for gamers. We end up with less choice, which means less competition, higher prices, and possibly less games. Steam had that effect on bricks and mortar retailers. Go into an EB these days and look at the PC games area.

          Its Blizzard, Sims, a few other AAA titles at launch, and the games bundles that sell for a tenner. Tucked into a corner, when it used to be an entire wall. So now theres no competition for PC games, and we see the digital versions costing more than those real world copies, if you can find them. Now its going that step further and locking it behind even less competition.

            Epic will never just compete on price with steam because they are inherently anti consumer, which may or may not have to do with being 40% Chinese owned.

            I get what your saying but it will never happen they don't want honest competition they want to try and force people onto the platform with exclusivity, counting on laziness and free games to create brand loyalty which is hard for steam to break.

            they are herding the sheep, the people too stupid to see what is so clear to the rest of us and it's completely retarded because those same sheep are getting baited onto console with exclusives.

            the virtue signalling about porn and the bitching bloat is the same kind of thing it just capitalising on negative press about steam to market themselves as an alternative which they just aren't.

            you probably know all this already but i needed to have a rant... Nathan pisses me off :S

              Its all good, we all need a rant at times. I'm mostly saying that Epic is trying to build brand loyalty in the wrong way. Its antagonistic, and creates barriers when the lock things away for so long, and it really doesnt help the developers, us, or in the long term, them.

              As I see it, the better way would be to simply have a lower sticker price and encourage people to voluntarily move over. The developer can set a price so they are making more than what they would at Steam, and still have a lower price, because that Epic cut is so much lower, and that would work.

              $80 at Steam would mean $24 to Valve, and $56 to the developer, while $70 at Epic would see $8.40 going their way, and $61.60 to the developer. As consumers, we'd gravitate to the offer thats $10 less once we realised it was happening for every single game.

              You attract more bees with honey than vinegar.

              The whole porn and bloat thing is just hot air to justify how they're going about it. And doesnt address those issues in any way whatsoever. Those that really care about that as an issue will have moved on long ago.

    I thought bloatware was stuff like the default apps on phones that you can't get rid of even if you don't use them. What would be an example of bloatware on a games store?

      closest example I can think of are how BR games are treated with their relentless cosmetic item additions increasing the game footprint with regular mandatory updates... waitaminute! :p

      The example in the article is a game that has illicit or irritating apps piggybacking on the game. (ie. Games that have bitcoin miners or spyware running in the background) It could also apply to any game that requires you to download extra launchers, say for a particular storefront or it downloads your Steam friend list in the background or... hang on, that sounds familiar.

        Are you saying Final Fantasy 14 is a bloatware product because it requires a separate launcher, hooks into and downloads your Steam friends list in the background? That game doesn't seem like bloatware playing and launching it.

      Thats bloatware, but in this context I assume they're talking about proper asset flips, and 5 minute jobs that are low quality. Things just filling up the lists on Steam, because Steam did such a good job at being a distribution platform.

      In eras past, you saw them as 3 games for the price of 1 crappy things. They'll still be on the shelf at EB. Hidden object games, that sort of thing.

    inb4 a bunch of indie devs don't get picked for their game to be sold on the store and they complain

    Last edited 21/03/19 5:02 pm

    Going forward, Epic said it intends to focus on quality over quantityIn principle, that's not a bad idea. Steam is cluttered with absolute garbage - and before the usual "Oh but it's fine for me because you have to change x or y" that's fine but I still see a load of trash. Maybe it's just bad at picking up games. But whenever I'm looking for something new, I still get bogged down in absolute nonsense - to the point where I don't use Steam for game discovery anymore. Being on Steam was a big deal - now you're lost in a sea of asset flips and shovelware. GOG for example seem more selective and I can reasonably find new titles there, and the main storefront isn't a mess of titles all vying for attention on a crowded platform.

    I think a curated store could work out from that perspective - but I don't know if Epic are the right ones to do it.

      I would agree... if Epic was doing this on their own merits. But everything appearing on their store is not going to Epic cause they getva better cut or because its a better custoner experience or store front... every developer is not going to Epic because they are stuck eith the choice.

      A) Go on Steam with the largest market share.
      B) Wait... cause eventually you will get an email from Epic Games offering you an exclusive.

      See... now even if a developer honestly wanted to xhoise Epic Games as their launcher/store. They wont choose, they will wait for Epic Games to make firsr contact and make them an offer.

      Why choose to go Epic for free, if Epic chooses you with a suitcase of money in hand?

      I agree that there's a lot of crap on Steam, but I don't use Steam because it has great curation. I use Steam because it has sweet sales and lets me keep in contact with friends because everyone who PC games has it. I like it because its controller support is superior to anything else, although big screen mode can go to hell. As a specific example, I grabbed Subnautica on Epic and my view just kept spinning with a controller. I know that it's more to do with the unity engine, but I can't remember ever having that problem on Steam.

      I also like Steam because it makes managing my game collection incredibly convenient with categories and such, and if I right click and look at the properties, I can instantly go the game's folder. Thanks, Steam, for not treating me like an idiot.

      Epic launcher doesn't do that. And as far as navigating it goes, it feels like a huge cumbersome smartphone design. If they weren't giving me free stuff, I wouldn't want to use it.

      Windows store is pretty bad too. It just chucks in its crap with its premium content and makes it hard to tell what's actually playable on PC sometimes. More, it pulls some overprotective crap and installs to a folder that I don't even have the security privileges to look inside or see how much space its taking up. That really grinds my gears. In fact, I don't think you can even tell within the store how much space stuff takes up unless you check when installing it.

      Origin doesn't even support proper 4k scaling. My app looks like crap.

      Other than GoG and Steam, I find using anything else a pretty big chore. For finding out about new stuff, there's a wealth of other sources to draw on. The really well received stuff usually gets front page coverage on Steam anyway (e.g, Dawn of Man took the headline not long ago well before I saw it on gaming sites), and you can just open it up in a new tab or mouse hover to look at reviews if you need to dig deeper on the fly.

        I'm so sorry about this wall of text

          Your right though. Epic are using dodgy tactics because their store is crap and can't stand on its own legs.
          It's not sustainable what they're doing.
          They go on and on about serving devs but really they are all about servicing publishers.

        I still use Steam primarily because it has most of my games, but I don’t use it as a store much. I find out about new games from sites like Kotaku - because the store is noisy garbage and reviews need to be overhauled (which they’re working on). I’m not saying that Epic is going to be better (it probably wont) but Steam has become a complete mess, and Valve let it get that way by leaving it up to the community to manage. But the community is shit, and does a bad job at it.

        The mere fact that Epic Store and Origin are shit doesn’t mean that Steam can’t improve, or that Valve can’t have a better, more active hand in moderating the platform.

          @doktor_molotov

          people seem to have a massive boner for this curated store bullshit....

          Steam) we put nearly everything on the store for you to sort through and look for games you want to play.

          Epic) we put fuck all on our store and curate what you should play based on our own tastes/wallet

          how is epic better, there is a very good chance that there are games out there with some anime titties in them that i would like to play, haven't found any yet but i'd much rather a company that gives me the widest selection to choose from than a censorious pack of opportunistic jackasses deciding what i can buy, I really don't see how it's different from the exclusivity shit which most people were angry about.

            I don't disagree. I don't really need curated crap. If a game is good, it'll generate a buzz. Digging for gold is kind of pointless.

            On a platform like Steam I think curation can be better done by the community. Steam has those curated games list, but I don't really get it or think they're helpful. It wouldn't be bad to see something like how Amazon used to have, where people used to create "Books like this with this thing in it" sort of lists.

              Like you said Valve did exactly that - but they’re shoved into a corner and end up being literally a giant list. Also the community has consistently proven to be awful at self-moderation.

    What's fascinating is that this is how Steam actually started out. All just a little bit of history repeating...

    Steam's opening of the floodgates was a direct response to indie developers and games journalists wailing and gnashing teeth over all the precious 'hidden gems' (debatable) not getting a guaranteed instant-jackpot payday by getting onto the store. A jackpot that was only guaranteed by virtue of the small catalog.

    So Valve said, "Fine, this stuff you guys are clamouring for we thought was shit, so maybe you're right and we DON'T know what constitutes good quality. Go on then, have it all, do your own curation if you're so much better at it than us."

    And now everyone's complaining there's shit on there, and coveted discoverability is poor so getting onto Steam is no longer a guaranteed lottery win.

    Be interesting to see which course Epic charts through that same fork in the river, and how it treats them.

      All just a little bit of history repeating...
      those who fail to learn from history... and those who fail to learn from those who have already failed to learn from history (where those failures are well documented for legal purposes)...

        You say that as if Steam was a failue. Yes it was hated at first but it's still very successful.

          I missed a bit of clarification which should have gone before that - I didn't mean Steam as the failure; I meant after Steam proved successful and competitors were finding new ways to fail in cases where they shouldn't have (GFWL, issues with Uplay, Origin causing trouble for some indies, Desura, etc.)

        Ahh the old "You gave us what we asked for, but not what we wanted" situation.

    So they will not allow (questionable) anime games and cyka-bljat asset flips?

    Sounds good to me, it's crazy that Steam allows them...

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