[Polygon] Epic locks down more store exclusives, including Obsidian’s The Outer Worlds, Remedy’s Control - Overclock.net - An Overclocking Community

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[Polygon] Epic locks down more store exclusives, including Obsidian’s The Outer Worlds, Remedy’s Control

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post #1 of 126 (permalink) Unread 03-21-2019, 12:39 PM - Thread Starter
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[Polygon] Epic locks down more store exclusives, including Obsidian’s The Outer Worlds, Remedy’s Control

Pretty short article so I quoted most of it:

Quote:
Epic Games announced a batch of new exclusive titles for its digital game store at its annual Game Developers Conference keynote today, including two titles from Take-Two’s Private Division label: Obsidian Entertainment’s sci-fi role-playing game The Outer Worlds and Panache Digital’s Ancestors: The Humankind Odyssey, the new game from Assassin’s Creed creator Patrice Désilets.


The Outer Worlds’ exclusivity on the Epic Games Store is limited, however. Obsidian’s game will also be available through the Windows 10 store at launch, and will come to Steam one year after launch.
Epic also had a surprise announcement: Developer Quantic Dream is bringing three of its games — Heavy Rain, Beyond: Two Souls, and Detroit: Become Human — to PC as Epic Games Store exclusives.


Epic has already made headlines for the store exclusives it’s managed to lock down, including Ubisoft’s Tom Clancy’s The Division 2 and 4A Games’ Metro Exodus.


Here’s a list of the other games coming to the Epic Games Store as PC exclusives:

Afterparty from Night School Studios

Control from Remedy Entertainment and 505 Games

The Cycle from Yager

Dauntless from Phoenix Labs

Industries of Titan from Brace Yourself Games

Journey to the Savage Planet from Typhoon Studios and 505 Games

Kine from Chump Squad

Phoenix Point from Snapshot Games

The Sinking City from Frogwares and Bigben

Spellbreak from Proletariat Inc

Solar Ash Kingdom from Heart Machine and Annapurna Interactive
Source: https://www.polygon.com/2019/3/20/18...worlds-control

This news seems to reshape the conversation from focus on one or two games to a bigger picture; Developers want to get paid, if they can get a significantly larger cut than what Steam offers, they will. This is the beginning of a new trend.

Personally, I welcome more competition to Steam. Competition is good for consumers in the end, that's Economics 101.

And let me just add that all Valve would have to do to combat this is lower their Steam fees. It's not like they wouldn't still be rolling in cash if they did.


Edit: Current free game on Epic store:


Epic Store Roadmap: https://trello.com/b/GXLc34hk/epic-games-store-roadmap

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Last edited by UltraMega; 03-26-2019 at 01:11 AM.
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post #2 of 126 (permalink) Unread 03-21-2019, 01:21 PM
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Quote: Originally Posted by UltraMega View Post
This news seems to reshape the conversation from focus on one or two games to a bigger picture; Developers want to get paid, if they can get a significantly larger cut than what Steam offers, they will.

Personally, I welcome more competition to Steam. Competition is good for consumers in the end, that's Economics 101.
Obsidian didn't know about the exclusivity contract until it was announced, they were still working on Steam achievements.

Guarantee every cent of that money Epic handed over for the exclusive contract went to the publisher, Private Division (Take-Two subsidiary), not the developers.

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post #3 of 126 (permalink) Unread 03-21-2019, 01:25 PM
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As much as I prefer having a unified platform, I recognize the incentives for each of the big publishers to make their own. Blizzard was in on this style of exclusivity long before anyone else, and there wasn't much outcry then.

It's when people like EA do it, and do it in annoying fashion, that we start to complain. I haven't made up my mind about Epic's store yet, though I have been hesitant to get anything from it.
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post #4 of 126 (permalink) Unread 03-21-2019, 01:28 PM
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Quote: Originally Posted by UltraMega View Post
Personally, I welcome more competition to Steam. Competition is good for consumers in the end, that's Economics 101.
How is this any good for customers since prices are exactly the same with a way worse launcher than Steam?

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Quote: Originally Posted by Imouto View Post
How is this any good for customers since prices are exactly the same with a way worse launcher than Steam?
Key words are "in the end". Hasn't happened yet.

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Quote: Originally Posted by Imouto View Post
How is this any good for customers since prices are exactly the same with a way worse launcher than Steam?
Isn't metro cheaper on the epic store? Only $50 instead of $60.

That said, in theory if the games are the same price either way, than getting a larger chunk of the profits would hopefully mean developers would have more money to budget their next games with, and we would get a better product in the end. It's like saying you get what you pay for except you pay the same, but the developer pays fewer fees to give you that product, so they can give you a better product.

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Quote:
Epic has already made headlines for the store exclusives it’s managed to lock down, including Ubisoft’s Tom Clancy’s The Division 2...
Division 2 is on Ubisoft's Uplay, not sure how it's exclusive to Epic Store.


Quote: Originally Posted by Blze001 View Post
Obsidian didn't know about the exclusivity contract until it was announced, they were still working on Steam achievements.

Guarantee every cent of that money Epic handed over for the exclusive contract went to the publisher, Private Division (Take-Two subsidiary), not the developers.
That's still better than the money going to the owner of the store.

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post #8 of 126 (permalink) Unread 03-21-2019, 03:50 PM
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Quote: Originally Posted by UltraMega View Post
Isn't metro cheaper on the epic store? Only $50 instead of $60.
It's 60€ over here.

Quote: Originally Posted by UltraMega View Post
That said, in theory if the games are the same price either way, than getting a larger chunk of the profits would hopefully mean developers would have more money to budget their next games with, and we would get a better product in the end. It's like saying you get what you pay for except you pay the same, but the developer pays fewer fees to give you that product, so they can give you a better product.
No, it doesn't work like that. Your product has X sales. Your next product has an estimated Y sales. You budget it for those Y sales. Allotting more for development just because you got a better return in the previous one is stupid as you didn't sell more, it was just that the ROI was better and you're ruining your current one.

This isn't a factory or any other traditional production mean.

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post #9 of 126 (permalink) Unread 03-21-2019, 04:06 PM
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Quote: Originally Posted by UltraMega View Post
Pretty short article so I quoted most of it:
Personally, I welcome more competition to Steam. Competition is good for consumers in the end, that's Economics 101.

And let me just add that all Valve would have to do to combat this is lower their Steam fees. It's not like they wouldn't still be rolling in cash if they did.
For context of the following - I am professionally directly involved in creating, facilitating, and designing platforms for companies across a number of different industries. A large part of my job is to explain to executives the economics and monetization of their platforms, and how they should decide when to charge for a service and when not to. I don't participate in predatory (company win - user/customer lose) initiatives, but regardless I am often exposed to a myriad of clever MBA's with new (very old) strategies to wring a few more dollars out of their customers, and am intimately aware how little executives care about risk a customer bears, or even risk they bear but the customer is the one who is damaged. So.. here goes.

Lets step back for a hot second and realize this isn't simple economics and you aren't buying a product, but a perpetual license to access a service. That entire sentence should give you pause when trying to look at this like it's just a matter of "getting a bigger cut" short sighted gross oversimplification of the fiscal dynamics.

Building one of these platforms is really, really, deceptively hard. Associating the platform with the publisher / studio means the likelihood of the continued existence of the platform is tied to the long-term success of a single company, versus spread across the entire industry. For you to lose your steam library as things stand the entire PC gaming industry would have to vanish and stay gone. That's a huge difference.

The publishers who are trying to build walled gardens are insanely undervaluing the risk to their customers for marginal increases to their bottom line because they are more concerned about a larger cut than providing great service. These platforms, the infrastructure, and the people to build, run and grow them are not cheap. This means their platform is not their product but a means to an end, as such any investment in the platform will be reactionary by the providers. When the platform is the sole offering from an organization as is essentially the case with Valve and Steam, the breadwinner product gets the most funding and can be proactive about improving their service.

Executives are also grossly under appreciating the feature gap between the minimum viable product they intend to release and the offerings of incumbent competition along with the effort required to make the platform viable and healthy from a consumer perspective. This is related to the Dunning-Kruger effect in that those who know little about a subject think they can definitely simplify it more than their competition does. Nor are they motivated by these facts because this doesn't tangibly effect their bottom line - it only hurts them when things get so bad customers stop buying. So instead of having nice offerings where the platform is actively investing in maintaining things like review systems honesty and malicious content deplatformed, you will end up with a huge pool of absolutely awful options with near feature parity - equally crap for the end users. Competition only works as a motivator when the things competing are profit drivers, it doesn't help at all for cost centers (e.g. customer support, help desk.. etc.).

Now, IP is valuable! and these executives love themselves some lawyers with contracts to make sure they always get a cut. Since they are likely the kind of people who would withhold compensation for things, provided they could justify it to themselves as a reasonable course of action and believe they could get away with it, they assume the whole world thinks like that too and they go buy the newest and "Bestest DRM evar!" they can find, and slap it all over the place. It makes sense because after all it's their game and you just get a perpetual license to use it (as long as that DRM server stays online).

Oh, well I'm sure you can see where this is going.

What happens when one of the platforms / publishers / studios falls over with all that super important DRM server? You lose the game you bought, and there's nobody to sue. And a couple crappy games in a row can literally end your access to years of successful games in no time flat. It may seem unlikely, but its really not. Companies die all the time. The publisher doesn't care, they already got your money - and running this service is just a massive money pit cost center, so risk to your purchases never enters their equation. But lets say the world is Utopia, and none of these companies go out of business by some miracle, is your information safe? I've already pointed out these executives don't really care about risk or damage to their customers for the most part, unless it effects their bottom line. They aren't bad people, just too far removed from the people effected for it to be "real", and winning in business is just business after all.

So in the astronomically low probability nothing happens to the companies themselves, what happens when the company decides to pivot away from the platform because its operation, development, and maintenance is now costing a LOT more than the executives predicted, and they want out of this responsibility? The absolute best case scenario is they remove the DRM from the platforms and you're able to get a binary or installer to download before some cut off date. This is extremely unlikely. This assumes the products can be easily severed from the DRM, the games aren't designed to be tightly coupled to the services (either URLs, IPs or just in code style), the source code is still around and can still be compiled for a new build with all the required dependencies and knowledge of the product, and the company feels like paying for that to occur on all of the available titles. The internet is ephemeral, things come and they go so being able to build things later is far from a foregone conclusion. A product that is easily severable from DRM is also a product which is likely easily hackable, so there's a good chance the DRM is tightly coupled to the actual product in same way. Which brings us to that point about tight coupling to the services, what this means is the server code and the game code are built as one product, and largely don't function without the counterpart. It's about 20 times easier (and therefor cheaper) to build code which is tightly coupled, so it's a very fair bet the bonus focused, bottom line obsessed MBA isn't interested in paying for the difference when all they can see in their understandable technical ignorance is two equivalent things, one being substantially more expensive than the other? They buy the cheaper one.

All of this is assuming no actual malice from the executive's perspective, just a very standard MBA sanctioned and reinforced decision methodology. Do you still think you as a customer should be looking at this as a simple economic choice between two products?


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post #10 of 126 (permalink) Unread 03-21-2019, 04:10 PM - Thread Starter
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Quote: Originally Posted by Imouto View Post
It's 60€ over here.



No, it doesn't work like that. Your product has X sales. Your next product has an estimated Y sales. You budget it for those Y sales. Allotting more for development just because you got a better return in the previous one is stupid as you didn't sell more, it was just that the ROI was better and you're ruining your current one.

This isn't a factory or any other traditional production mean.
Actually, it does work like that. Your comment is totally baseless and you have done nothing to back up your premise. I dismiss it completely.



Quote: Originally Posted by Avonosac View Post
For context of the following - I am professionally directly involved in creating, facilitating, and designing platforms for companies across a number of different industries. A large part of my job is to explain to executives the economics and monetization of their platforms, and how they should decide when to charge for a service and when not to. I don't participate in predatory (company win - user/customer lose) initiatives, but regardless I am often exposed to a myriad of clever MBA's with new (very old) strategies to wring a few more dollars out of their customers, and am intimately aware how little executives care about risk a customer bears, or even risk they bear but the customer is the one who is damaged. So.. here goes.

Lets step back for a hot second and realize this isn't simple economics and you aren't buying a product, but a perpetual license to access a service. That entire sentence should give you pause when trying to look at this like it's just a matter of "getting a bigger cut" short sighted gross oversimplification of the fiscal dynamics.

Building one of these platforms is really, really, deceptively hard. Associating the platform with the publisher / studio means the likelihood of the continued existence of the platform is tied to the long-term success of a single company, versus spread across the entire industry. For you to lose your steam library as things stand the entire PC gaming industry would have to vanish and stay gone. That's a huge difference.

The publishers who are trying to build walled gardens are insanely undervaluing the risk to their customers for marginal increases to their bottom line because they are more concerned about a larger cut than providing great service. These platforms, the infrastructure, and the people to build, run and grow them are not cheap. This means their platform is not their product but a means to an end, as such any investment in the platform will be reactionary by the providers. When the platform is the sole offering from an organization as is essentially the case with Valve and Steam, the breadwinner product gets the most funding and can be proactive about improving their service.

Executives are also grossly under appreciating the feature gap between the minimum viable product they intend to release and the offerings of incumbent competition along with the effort required to make the platform viable and healthy from a consumer perspective. This is related to the Dunning-Kruger effect in that those who know little about a subject think they can definitely simplify it more than their competition does. Nor are they motivated by these facts because this doesn't tangibly effect their bottom line - it only hurts them when things get so bad customers stop buying. So instead of having nice offerings where the platform is actively investing in maintaining things like review systems honesty and malicious content deplatformed, you will end up with a huge pool of absolutely awful options with near feature parity - equally crap for the end users. Competition only works as a motivator when the things competing are profit drivers, it doesn't help at all for cost centers (e.g. customer support, help desk.. etc.).

Now, IP is valuable! and these executives love themselves some lawyers with contracts to make sure they always get a cut. Since they are likely the kind of people who would withhold compensation for things, provided they could justify it to themselves as a reasonable course of action and believe they could get away with it, they assume the whole world thinks like that too and they go buy the newest and "Bestest DRM evar!" they can find, and slap it all over the place. It makes sense because after all it's their game and you just get a perpetual license to use it (as long as that DRM server stays online).

Oh, well I'm sure you can see where this is going.

What happens when one of the platforms / publishers / studios falls over with all that super important DRM server? You lose the game you bought, and there's nobody to sue. And a couple crappy games in a row can literally end your access to years of successful games in no time flat. It may seem unlikely, but its really not. Companies die all the time. The publisher doesn't care, they already got your money - and running this service is just a massive money pit cost center, so risk to your purchases never enters their equation. But lets say the world is Utopia, and none of these companies go out of business by some miracle, is your information safe? I've already pointed out these executives don't really care about risk or damage to their customers for the most part, unless it effects their bottom line. They aren't bad people, just too far removed from the people effected for it to be "real", and winning in business is just business after all.

So in the astronomically low probability nothing happens to the companies themselves, what happens when the company decides to pivot away from the platform because its operation, development, and maintenance is now costing a LOT more than the executives predicted, and they want out of this responsibility? The absolute best case scenario is they remove the DRM from the platforms and you're able to get a binary or installer to download before some cut off date. This is extremely unlikely. This assumes the products can be easily severed from the DRM, the games aren't designed to be tightly coupled to the services (either URLs, IPs or just in code style), the source code is still around and can still be compiled for a new build with all the required dependencies and knowledge of the product, and the company feels like paying for that to occur on all of the available titles. The internet is ephemeral, things come and they go so being able to build things later is far from a foregone conclusion. A product that is easily severable from DRM is also a product which is likely easily hackable, so there's a good chance the DRM is tightly coupled to the actual product in same way. Which brings us to that point about tight coupling to the services, what this means is the server code and the game code are built as one product, and largely don't function without the counterpart. It's about 20 times easier (and therefor cheaper) to build code which is tightly coupled, so it's a very fair bet the bonus focused, bottom line obsessed MBA isn't interested in paying for the difference when all they can see in their understandable technical ignorance is two equivalent things, one being substantially more expensive than the other? They buy the cheaper one.

All of this is assuming no actual malice from the executive's perspective, just a very standard MBA sanctioned and reinforced decision methodology. Do you still think you as a customer should be looking at this as a simple economic choice between two products?
A bit wordy but..

There isnt a lot of precedent for what competition looks like in this industry. The Epic store has plenty of room to mature and expand, it's only just started. The extra services are great but at the same time, we've seen a lot of big publishers create their own stores to avoid Steams high fees, and now epic is doing the same without making it more or less exclusive to their own games.

No matter the bumps and hurdles of getting the epic store off the ground and fleshing out its services, as long as it gets to where it needs to be soon enough I expect it to survive and do well, and I don't think a company like epic will have issues eventually delivering on that... but as I say that I am thinking, what services? I really don't care about anything steam does other than allow me to buy and play games, and chat with my gaming friends. As long as any other platform can do that, they have all the things 90% of PC gamers will really ever use.


I get that you are saying it seems unwise for the epic store to be somewhat combatitve by locking down exclusives to force customers on their platform rather than lure them in, but I would argue that Steam has such a strangle hold on the PC gaming market that a more subtle strategy would not work as PC gamers are especially snobby to anything that competes with Steam. Most PC gamers don't think much further than, "I don't want to deal with another program on my PC and I don't want to have to think about what store to buy a game from, period." That is a very short sided attitutude that unfortunately is the majority mentality right now, and I think nothing less than a big push to break up Steams somewhat monololistic hold on the PC games market is the only approach that will be effective.

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Last edited by UltraMega; 03-21-2019 at 06:54 PM.
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