A hot potato: A few weeks after suggesting that its exclusivity deals would eventually stop, Epic Games has just said that won’t be the case. CEO Tim Sweeney confirmed that it would continue to secure exclusive games for its store, even if previous plans for a Steam launch had been announced.
During a Game Developers Conference Q&A last month, Epic Games Store head Steve Allison said he didn’t think the company planned to negotiate exclusives forever, adding that “we'll probably do it for a while.”
Since then, Epic signed a deal with the developer of upcoming Sci-Fi thriller Observation, which, as was the case with Metro Exodus and Phoenix Point, was already set to appear on Steam.
Responding to tweets from fans who are angry about the situation, Sweeney wrote: “We’ve had a lot of discussions about this since GDC. Epic is open to continuing to sign funding/exclusivity deals with willing developers and publishers regardless of their previous plans or announcements around Steam.”
We've had a lot of discussions about this since GDC. Epic is open to continuing to sign funding / exclusivity deals with willing developers and publishers regardless of their previous plans or announcements around Steam.— Tim Sweeney (@TimSweeneyEpic) April 1, 2019
Epic said the Metro Exodus controversy, in which the game was removed from Steam and could only be played on Valve’s platform by those who preordered, was something it wanted to avoid in the future.
Referring to Allison’s comments about Metro Exodus, Sweeney said “This prompted further discussions at Epic, leading to the realization that these calls must be up to developers and publishers, and Epic wouldn’t tell them “no” on account of existing statements made about Steam.”
It was confirmed yesterday that Borderlands 3 would also be a timed Epic Games Store exclusive. We can expect to see plenty more games follow this same path, despite the deals costing Epic a lot of money.
The Epic Games store earns a net profit on each transaction from its 12% store fee. Our average cost of transactions is under 12%.— Tim Sweeney (@TimSweeneyEpic) April 3, 2019
Our up-front investments in exclusives and free games are significant and may exceed net profits from third-party games in 2019.