As if the console wars were no longer a headache, the big PC publishers are now ramping up what looks like an upcoming digital store war. Epic from Fortnite Fame has just launched its own store for digital PC games. The Epic Store not only promises higher profit margins for game companies, but also aims to offer several exclusive high-profile games for its store.
Steam is arguably the biggest player on the market when it comes to digital PC gaming stores. It's understandable, as its backing company, Valve, was the first to anticipate and anticipate digital supremacy in the early 2000s. After a huge reaction when its then highly anticipated Half-Life 2 would be available exclusively through From Steam, PC gamers quickly accepted the digital platform.
Fast forward in more than a decade and today only a select few IPs can afford do not to launch their games on Steam. Many other major publishers have tried to create their own digital store, EA has Origin, Ubisoft has Uplay, but for the most part the appeal of these stores was the publishers' own exclusives. Like Battlefield games on Origin.
It seems that after more than a decade of undisputed steam dominance, a new player has entered the ring, and this time things could be different. None other than Epic, the company behind the most popular game right now, Fortnite, has announced and launched its own digital store this week on PC.
Exclusively for Origin, Uplay and co., The Epic Store is acting more like we're being used by platform holders on consoles. Epic's aggressiveness leaves little doubt that the company is taking on Steam. In a surprise move, Epic announced that third-party publishers launching their games on the Epic Store will only have to give 12% of their game revenue to Epic. The common platform tax across consoles and digital stores like Steam is a whopping 30%. Undoubtedly, a strategic move to quickly reinforce the Epic Store lineup.
Epic is not done here though. Starting next Friday with Subnautica, Epic Store users will receive a free game every two weeks. A bold tactic for the user to count. Another, grosser move, the company also managed to secure several third-party exclusives to its digital store. Namely Ashen, Hades, Satisfactory, and Journey. The latter doesn't really need an introduction, as it's still one of the most beloved indie games on the PS3 and PS4. For the first time, PC gamers will have the opportunity to experience Journey, exclusively in the Epic Store.
Ashen on the other hand is a more controversial matter. As a game that has been advertised for several years as a multiplatform on Xbox One and Steam, Epic got the title and, for now, is only available on the Epic Store.
Similarly, Hades, from the creators of Bastion and Transistor, will come out first in the Epic Store. Factory first-person maker Satisfactory completely scrapped its plans for a Steam release.
As you can see, most of these Epic Store exclusives are time exclusive, which means that after a period of time, the games will be available on Steam. Does this kind of practice help the Epic Store become a worthwhile competitor? What is already clear, however, Steam has gotten its first true competitor in a long time.