Phoenix Point Developer Responds To Criticisms Of Epic Store Exclusivity

Last week we got the news that yet another upcoming video game has become an Epic Store exclusive, this time the upcoming turn based tactical strategy game Phoenix Point.

The game, developed by XCOM veterans and funded through crowdfunding site Fig, was initially due to come to PC via Steam and GOG, but is now coming exclusively to the Epic Games store. While refunds have been offered to anyone unhappy with the change, lead designer and XCOM creator Julian Gollop took to Reddit during a recent AMA to respond to criticisms of the move.

According to Gollop, the change was made in order to improve immediate post launch support for the game, hopefully speeding up when post launch support becomes available.

Additionally, in response to backers update about lack of GOG and Steam keys for the game, Gollop assured backers that, once the year of exclusivity ends, they will receive those codes in addition to the Epic Store code at launch. For those who picked a GOG code in order to avoid DRM, Gollop insists the Epic Store version will be DRM free, and will not require the Epic launcher once downloaded and installed.

Lastly, Gollop confirmed that the Steam and GOG backer codes for the game will come with the first year's DLC for free, the same deal being offered to backers playing through the Epic Store.

However, some highly upvoted questions in the AMA were not addressed. For example, some backers paid extra to get the game's first DLC, which is now being given to all backers for free. Gollop did not respond to questions asking if any partial refund would be made available to those backers.

Additionally, some backers in China who cannot access the Epic Store are concerned that they have been ignored in their requests for alternative solutions.

This post originally appeared on Kotaku UK, bringing you original reporting, game culture and humour from the British isles.


Comments

    "According to Gollop, the change was made in order to improve immediate post launch support for the game, hopefully speeding up when post launch support becomes available."

    Well thats a load of bs.

      yeah... wouldn't immediate post launch support be a lot easier on a platform that currently allows built-in user feedback for tracking bugs and other issues?

      Well, it's easier to claim that everything is fine when your customers have lost one of their primary avenues of complaint.

    According to Gollop, the change was made in order to improve immediate post launch support for the game, hopefully speeding up when post launch support becomes available.What does this even mean? All I see is "We did this because $$$$". They certainly didn't seem to make any of their decisions based on how beneficial it was for the people actually paying to play the game.

      Well you're not wrong lol. Money drives business. If Epic is giving more of a discount, more will go to them. Steam will need to make a decision on what to do in the future.

        It's not just a larger cut they are offering otherwise we would be seeing a more measured transition and cautious take up of the new platform.
        Instead we are seeing an very aggressive buy up, exclusive deals purchased with guarantees, money and heavily funded support and resources.

        In short, what we are seeing is Epic throwing bucket loads of money in a hostile market takeover.
        They aren't just offering better money to developers, they are trying to cut Steam out of the equation all together.

        As for Steam, I'm not sure they need to do anything too drastic besides revisiting some of their policies, tweaking their services and changing the developer cut.
        The reasoning there is I'm seeing the word "anti consumer" being raised by more than just frustrated preorder folks, it's even starting to gain traction in the gaming media.(But not here, obviously)
        I would wager this recent hard sell PR drive by Epic is related to that but as you can see all this talk of a free and open platform, choice, and honest competition starting to ring very hollow for many.

          But is it anti-consumer when the consumer pays the identical amount on Steam or Epic? Sure, the tactics Epic is using to get games on their system is heavy handed, but I don't see anything blatantly wrong about it.

            I didn't say it was blatantly wrong, just that it's far from what Epic is selling in its marketing.
            It's not honest competition, it's not giving people a genuine choice and it's a proxy closed platform on a timer. (In relation to the exclusive drive specifically)

            And yeah, it is very anti consumer right now.
            When all this was kicking off folks were cautiously optimistic and now I'm seeing a more serious lean toward annoyance.

              Only reason it annoys me is because I need a second launcher. Need some third party to make the Epic Steam launcher that launches all of the games you own lol

              This too shall pass. Epic knows they're pissing people off.

      Or cleared it with their FIG shareholders cause the Epic money means the studio suddenly didnt feel it could complete all its goals without the money.

        It is taking a lot longer than they originally anticipated to get the game out. I backed it a lonnngggggg time ago and it was supposed to be in my hands already.

        To be fair/transparent, I've also backed Star Citizen, so I'm fine with waiting. But the longer games take, the more money they require.

    Result of ama.
    Mr gallop "$crew you backers, we wanted more monies!"

    The game was both crowdfunded and crowd-investored... we havent heard what the investors who have shares in this product feel.

    But I think after the third game to jump into bed with Epic... they will start to learn to do their due diligence and cover all the questions in their press release if they dare sign on the dotted line.

    Still, I removed this from my wish list cause Epic store sucks for pricing with USD exchange rates.

      As one of the "investors" the demo I played was very bad. Like....not even as good as the 2012 XCOM. I expected more out of the Daddy of Turn Based Combat. I'm glad they're taking a lot more time to get the game out, but it also means they burn more money daily.

    they let slip that epic paid them 2million upfront

      That really shines a light on Epic's strategy here, which is very risky loss-leading. Phoenix Point is a $40 game; for Epic to just break even it'd need to sell 415,000 copies before the exclusivity expires. Even on Steam that seems like a stretch for a relatively niche title that already has 10,000 completed sales from crowdfunding backers before it even comes out.

        Doesn’t matter if they lose money in the short term, they’re trying to drive people to their storefront.

          Sure, that's what a loss leader is. The reason I think it's a big gamble is the loss involved is benefiting the developer, not the customer. If you're not also enticing the customer (with more than just exclusivity) then overspending on titles isn't going to get you into the black.

            epic is basically relying on fortnight to be able to do this as even though they are also getting cash from 10cent i seriously doubt that 10cent would keep sending cash if fortnight were to lose its player base. Epci are just extremely lucky that PUBG became a hit because with it Fortnight was dead on arrival until they make the Battle Royal mode

        Yeah a few developers have let slip that it's more than the cut pulling them to epic.
        As I mentioned above their are extensive revenue guarantees, funding and payments being offered for exclusive deals.

        I mean shit, a bigger cut, 2 million dollars, free marketing, free development resources and substantial revenue guarantees is a pretty hard thing to ignore for a developer.
        Also explains why they are knocking down their own backers with a baseball bat to get to Epic.

    Good old third line forcing and exclusive deals. Can the gaming industry get any more anti-consumer at this point?!

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