Borderlands 3 Is A Six-Month Epic Store Exclusive On PC

The PC video game store wars rage on, with the newly announced Borderlands 3 the latest game to pick a side. Gearbox’s upcoming loot shooter, out September 13, will be a six-month Epic Store exclusive, the developers said today.

From the press release: “At launch on September 13, Borderlands 3 will be available for PC exclusively through the Epic Games store. Borderlands 3 will be available on additional PC digital storefronts in April 2020.”

It’ll also be out for PS4 and Xbox One.

For nearly a decade, Valve’s Steam storefront was the goto location for all things PC gaming, but the company behind Fortnite is trying to change that. In recent months, a number of high-profile video games have moved exclusively to Epic’s store, like The Division 2 and Metro Exodus, perhaps because Epic only takes a 12% cut of revenue (as opposed to Valve’s 30%) or perhaps because of other slick financial deals.

It’s a divide that’s polarised many gamers who have grown accustomed to Steam and don’t love the Epic Store.


Comments

    Jason, you're smart enough and have been around the industry long enough that you know without a doubt that Epic gave 2K a boat load of cash for the exclusivity rights for this so I'm not sure why you're playing so cow about it.

      It's not really right or fair to speculate on that without verified information (and defamatory in some places).

        I'm proud that Kotaku didn't void their journalistic integrity like so many usually do to get the sensationalist 'scoop'

        Agree. There is no hard evidence of that, so it is not ethical for the author to make it hat assumption.

      Most games sell their highest numbers at launch. Sounds like they would like to get a bigger cut of those sales. I bet the number of people that pick it up on Epic would be higher than the number of people that take a stand to never buy it.

      Then 6 months later it's on steam and all the holdouts can get it then.

      It's clearly financial, but they don't need to pay them extra.

        That's an interesting point to keep in mind when considering Valve's introduction of a reduced commission. Since the reduced commission only cuts in after the game reaches a certain sales target, Valve will be taking their high commission during that initial sales period.

        If the game only just reaches the threshold, then the low commission sales are going to be in the long tail, coming in over years.

        You might be right - but given that there are always new AAA games coming out, many gamers (myself included) may just skip BL3 and be on the next great game by the time it hits Steam.

        I also wouldn't be surprised if many players are in the same boat as me. I don't give two hoots about multiplayer, so if I'm forced to wait 6 months, then I'm happy to wait a year or two for it to drop on Humble Bundle, whereas I probably would have bought it on launch on Steam.

    I would have no problem with them releasing on Epic's store *as well*. But not *instead of*. Right now Epic's store is barely even there, it has hardly any features which people take for granted and it won't get most of them for at least a year.

    As consumers, games being exclusives to specific stores is a negative not a positive. Epic is *only* a good deal for the big publishers - they're definitely not passing those savings in fees on to us.

    Personally, adding to the lack of features, I don't trust Epic with my security. Already had my account with them compromised (luckily I didn't actually use it at that point) and their support took about 3 weeks to respond to me about it. Their back-end for recovering the account was barely functional. Add to this the fact they're 40% owned by a Chinese company known for spying on their users and sharing the info with the Chinese government for censorship purposes and the fact that the Epic launcher seems to touch a lot of files on your machine, gather detailed diagnostics without your consent and a bunch of other stuff and honestly it's a pretty easy choice about whether to allow it on my machine or not.

    I was actually pretty excited to pick this up. It looks cool, and maybe they can actually pull off what Destiny, The Division, Anthem etc. have failed to do. But I have plenty of other games to play so looks like they've made the decision whether to buy it or not for me.

      This seems to be the problem most people (me included) have with Epic. They need to stand out by being better than the competition, rather than instead of the competition.

      This will effect sales on the platform, so ultimately the developers lose out. That's been shown with timed exclusives before. Sales aren't going to spike in 6 months when it appears elsewhere, gamers will have moved on to the next thing. So it will just have some trickle sales, probably when Steam has a sale.

      Epic has one, potentially two ways to be ahead of the competition. Their 12% cut instead of 30% which they could take advantage of by just listing at $10 less than Steam. That alone would encourage gamers to buy on that platform, just to save that tenner.

      Secondly, their experience with cross platform gaming. If they could leverage that into something genuinely useful to developers, its a reason for them to be there and not on Steam. Those two are all it would take, and the complaints would disappear.

      The cross play stuff might not even be hard. Sony might be happy to focus the cross play stuff through a relatively neutral player like Epic.

        You’ve already highlighted how they’re different from the competition - by the cut they take. The only problem for consumers is that difference is irrelevant to us.

          See the rest of the comment. They're not acting on that difference in a way that enhances their image, they're doing it in a way that discourages us from using them. That 18% drop in cut is enough for them to permanently undercut Steam.

          That alone encourages enough people to buy from them that they make a difference. After that, momentum does the job. My point is they could use those differences far better, and avoid the hostility being thrown at them. Its negative publicity they could have easily avoided.

          Do you really think people would keep buying from Steam out of loyalty, when theres a $10 cheaper option a click away? When people are forced to do so, they dig their heels in as we're seeing here. When they're encouraged to, the negative impression isn't there, so they talk with their wallets.

          Personally, I don't know what I'd do. I don't really care about $10 so theres every chance I'd just stick with Steam for the most part. Having said that, I've bought on GoG more than once just because it was cheaper, so who knows.

          But the analyst in me tells me that how Epic has gone about this has created unnecessary bad press that could have been avoided.

            But like Steam, they've surrendered their ability to set prices to the publishers.

            Unlike bricks and mortar stores where a product is bought at wholesale price, and then sold at a retail price chosen to maximise profits, most digital distribution services set a commission and then let publishers choose a retail price. This also means that goods only go on sale when the publishers agree to put them on sale.

            It's not obvious to me that a new digital distribution platform would be able to claw back price setting control: if every other platform lets the publisher fix the price, why would they sell through an upstart store that won't?

              How does that change what I wrote? These developers believe in Epic so much, it shouldn't be hard to work with them for mutual benefit. They can charge $70 on Steam, where Steam gets $21 and the publisher gets $49, and charge $60 on Epic, where Epic gets $7.20 and the publisher gets $52.80.

              That creates a retail difference to the gamer, who will talk with their wallets, and still give more profit to the publisher, while pushing Epic's setup to their benefit. And you can control that with the Epic-publisher arrangement by putting a clause in that the Epic RRP must be 15% lower than the Steam RRP or something like that.

              But build that difference into how they operate. It lets the gamer have the choice, so if its really about wanting to keep their games in one place they can, or call bullshit on it and prove gamers talk with their wallets. If Epic really is the better choice, gamers will take that saving and just get games there. GoG worked by creating a difference, and it worked, at least up until now.

              What they're doing now is forcing gamers to make a choice, and when you force things like this it usually goes against those forcing you to make that choice. Which is clearly happening with Epic.

            I’m not invalidating what you said - I’m just highlighting why they’re different. It’s just that said difference means jack shit for us as consumers, which is what I said. Acknowledging that fact doesn’t mean Epic aren’t shit.

            As for Steam loyalty - up until recently people would unironcally post crap like “No Steam, no sale!” People have demonstrated blind allegiance to the platform purely due to consolidation of their library, even if the Steam store can be expensive in Australia.

              Fair enough. I'm just saying that with the "no Steam, no sale" group, call them on it. Give them a reason to make that distinction, rather than force them to, then see what they do. Blind allegiance is easy to declare when theres no choice, but if you put a 15% benefit in front of them, its a far better enticement than whats become a hostage situation. I'm willing to bet they would jump ship in enough numbers to be relevant. Do that in enough games, it becomes an accepted and enjoyed alternative, and Epic achieves their goal.

              Most of the time when its 'no steam, no sale', theres no benefit to the alternative. Its the same price, just a different platform, and at that point, I totally get the stance. You need to give a reason to use Epic, and that difference can be used to encourage people rather than appear as an act of terrorism.

              Theres an old saying - 'you catch more flies with honey than vinegar' - that applies here. At the moment, they're using vinegar when the option to use honey is right there in front of them.

              They're doing this all in a way that doesn't help when theres a passive aggressive option right there that do the same thing. And help everyone.

        Even if Epic was 3 times as good, users would still buy on Steam. The pull of having all your games on one location is immense.

        By users, I mean crusty old bastards like ourselves.
        Younger players are happily moving to the Epic Store. What Epic is doing IS working.

        I would definitely choose the Steam version if it was available. But then, I honestly couldn't care less about running a different launcher when I want to run certain games. It's not like having to buy all the different consoles.

          I'll put a simple scenario to you. You have Steam, and you have Epic, where every game is 15% cheaper than Steam.

          You dont think that constant 15% saving wouldnt entice you to buy a few games there? You only need to look through this website to see all the "The Cheapest Copies Of X In Australia" articles to see that people vote with their wallets.

          If they did that, I expect plenty would take the savings and adjust to whats missing. Maybe (undoubtedly) not all, but enough, and eventually it would be just another option. They could undercut by over $10, which isnt insignificant. I think plenty would jump at that saving, its human nature.

          Steam loyalty is good. I prefer Steam myself. But I also know that if somewhere else was constantly cheaper, I'd have to consider them as well. If I didnt, I'm just throwing away money for no reason.

            I don't understand... how do you think pricing works?

            Take, for example:

            -Publisher puts a game up on Steam AND Epic
            -Game is priced at $100
            -Steam has a bigger audience, but takes a 20% cut (best case)
            -Epic has a smaller audience, but takes a 12% cut
            -Publisher makes $80 from a Steam sale, and $88 from an Epic sale.

            Are you suggesting that the publisher should be running a "sale" on the Epic store, so that they make the same profit selling on Epic as they do on Steam? Like, if they sold it for $91 on the Epic Store, then they would make the same $80 as they do on Steam.

            But then... there's literally no reason for Epic to exist? And that the generous deal Epic provides publishers would become completely irrelevant? Because they're just passing it on.

            Publishers, big and very small, LIKE what Epic is offering them. They get to keep a bigger cut from the games THEY spent time and money developing. I don't understand why you think they should simply pass on the saving Epic is offering to consumers? If that was the case, why bother leaving Steam? Might as well just put up with Steam's 20 - 30% cut.

            The real issue here is with Steams revenue split. Literally nothing will change until Steam decides to get serious and challenge Epic there.

      Its only 6 months tho. I am going to take a guess and say that 2K is testing the waters. They want to see what's going to happen if they only put it on one store, but 6 months is actually ok in my book. Feb 2020 for BL3's REAL release, Epic store buys basically become the gunnie pigs for all the bugs, so by the time it comes to Steam, a lot of the problems should be ironed out. Hopefully. lol

        That's my take as well. If it's good, it'll still be as good or better 6 months later assuming the playerbase doesn't evaporate (and assuming it even gets established on PC). And if it isn't, the people paying to beta test it via Epic are the ones that lost their money, not me.

      Mate, if you don't want the Chinese government spying on you then you should just stop using the internet altogether.

      Epic says that 40% of its 85mil users don't have Steam, and a further 28% don't use steam regularly, meaning more than 2/3rds of Epics userbase would likely not buy on Steam anyway... so why tf are publishers so willing to sign exclusivity deals? It's gotta be about trying to pressure Valve to lower their take, right? It can't just be about raw profits - the numbers just don't make sense.

      Just think of how many more sales they would have got by releasing on both platforms - you lose max 32% of your sales potential on Epic, but are simultaneously able to market to a 2.5x larger audience.

        And of course they got that info by scraping everyone's machines that installed their launcher without their consent...

    Yeah, no thanks. I'll pick it up on PS4 for now, and will get it on PC later down the track. Epic Store is terrible, has terrible security, terrible customer service, and is heavily anti-consumer

    Instead of making the games exclusive, give them a $10 discount on the epic store for it's launch period. Make Steam full price so they can let people choose where they want to buy their games instead of forcing shitty launchers and online stores, on us.

      That probably wouldn't do much in reality for the same reason JB are stuggling even though they usually launch games with a discount - the majority of people simply refuse to buy anywhere but Steam.

      Valve doesn't allow this, its in their ToC that all games must be the same price as all other stores.

    My first reaction was eh, fuck it, I'll just buy it.

    But, we are at a critical junction in the marketplace, where the needs of publishers are placed over users.

    The Epic store is for users, a piece of shit, between constant breaches, the client tanking on fortnite upgrades, bad and inconsistent refunding, dual speaking to developers and users on features, and other shitty things, its important that we continue to boycott Epic until Epic gets its shit into gear.

    If that means you don't play a game for a year, or cough, sail, cough, seas, so be it.

    The alternative is a future in pc gaming that is going to be much more shit

    Look, to be absolutely honest we have been spoilt in the amount of pure content we have at the moment. I for one am okay to wait 6 months for this, it gives me more time to finish up what currently I have no time for! Its the same case scenario for Metro. Outerworlds? No so much, that recent gameplay footage had my hype train derail real fast.

    the cynic in me imagines it will take them 6 months to get the game right anyway so this exclusive deal with Epic store isn't that much an issue

      Also removes the temptation to preorder. Its been a while, probably want reviews first to see if it isnt shit.

        The main risk is that they are using a new engine (which looks amazing), so the gameplay and physics will be a little different to the earlier games. Whether that's noticeable or not is really the only question.

        I hope it works well though, because from what I've seen of it theres potential for another Unreal type engine others could build on. And with the loot mechanic being part of it, probably a better engine for RPG heavier games.

        The gameplay formula itself is pretty hard to mess up though. Even when they add something silly like the air requirements in the Pre-Sequel, they weren't BAD, just unnecessary. And largely ignorable after a while.

      Not a cynic thats practical. I have waited longer for a game to get out of Early Access to full release...

      Borderlands 3
      Early Access: Sept 2019
      Full Release: April 2020

      Be funny if they put pre-orders on Steam now!

        Yeah this was pretty much my reaction "Oh cool I got stuff I can do until April, no probs"
        Hell maybe I'll delay further and wait for the GOTY edition. The add on content for borderlands has actually tended to be pretty good.

    Legitimate question here, does it really matter what "store" launches the program you want to play or is the Epic store a subscription based thing? At the end of the day all it is, is a launcher to launch games isn't it?

      Steam is a more integrated system with regional pricing, community functions, cloud saves, workshop, server services etc.

      Epic launcher is very basic, only trades in USD in most regions, has no additoonal functions, poor refund and customer sevice and has been accused of spying on its users. Its recent practices jave also been anticompetitive by elimating consumer choice on PC store especially eith no key selling.

      Also when 95% of you games are on Steam... having to download another obtrusive launcher for the 1 other game you have is ridiculous.

        Uh ok thanks heaps for taking the time to reply. Does now make sense with all this outcry.

    So, the main take away from this announcement is that hundreds of 2K staffers will be sleeping at their desks for the next five months straight.

    Initially, I would have been more than happy to buy anything on the Epic store if it was simply $5 or so cheaper than the competition... but in my eyes they've shat the bed with all this exclusivity bullshit. It's going to take an awful lot of good will on their part to get my attention now.

      I would of been happy if the games WERE cheaper... the USD to AUD price conversion is makingvthe games dearer and without key sellers I cant getdiscounts from GMG

    Of course since Epic only takes a 12% cut that means 2K will sell the game at a lower price because they don't need to compensate as much for the cost of distribution and care about their consumers right? Right?

    I don't care about the controversy. I've use Epic before for Unreal Engine. I've got 2FA enabled on both it and PayPal (as I do for everything else), so security is not an issue.

    I don't feel attached to Steam .... in fact I feel they've been milking developers for a long time. They're treatment of customers has been pretty shitty and they've had to be dragged kicking and screaming into customer-centric reforms. Sure, their platform is good, but Epic's only just launched as a game store. You can't get all the bells and whistles early on. System development is iterative.

    I don't get the hate. People seem to too invested in Steam .... and it's become obsessive.

    Last edited 04/04/19 11:47 am

      The hate is because while Steam is just a popular and dominant platform people still had choice because games would release on GOG, itch-io, and whatever other storefronts the developer wanted to release on. The competition was about price, service and features like being DRM free.

      Epic came along though and monopolised games and developers, removing any need to compete and thus removing the benefits for the consumer that competition brings. It's also a destructive cycle because we've already seen GOG letting people go and removing their Fair Price scheme because trying to stay competitive on the developer side (by decreasing their revenue share) means they are getting less money to support their upkeep.

      Basically it all comes down to the monopolisation factor that Epic is brandishing as a weapon. Anyone with a passing interest in economics will tell you that monopolisation in a marketplace is bad. It's why things like antitrust laws exist.

        Exclusive periods aren't monopolisation.

        Also, those other stores you listed failed miserably to put a dent into Steam. Because the single most important thing to users is having all their games together in one location.

        Do you truly believe there are any other features Epic could implement to compete with that?

        Publishers and developers can do whatever they want with their product. No one is bashing Steam for not releasing CS 1.6, CS:GO, Dota, Half-Life, or even Artifact on other competitive platforms. People are blind to their own double standard they're applying to someones else exclusives but not to Steams. It's all fair by the market and rules that even Steam follows.

          Yep.

          I couldn't care less about what launcher I'm using to play these games.

          I have to launch Blizzard BNet for WoW/SC2/Diablo... cant get them on steam.

          I have to launch Origin for Battlefield.. it's not on steam.

          I have to play CSGO or HL2 on steam... cant get them on Bnet

          So on and so forth.

          Do people forget that fucking steam got taken to Court by the ACCC for their bullshit practices?

    Your article, unfortunately like most media outlets these days is misleading. Div 2 is not a epic exclusive, you can still purchase through Uplay.
    On a side note, i am really concerned how no one is talking about the lax security of epic store and the fact their user data has been breached multiple times.
    Sadly it looks like anther game i wont be playing.

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