First of all: they’re finally releasing their online service features, which includes friends lists, matchmaking, inventory, purchasing management, voice chat, analytics, tickets, and more. What’s more, they’re sticking to their earlier promise that it was being released free, to everyone, with absolutely no strings attached. And while this is far from charity (they admit as much themselves, saying that the more people use Epic Online Services the larger the network becomes) it still means we could possibly have a network that’s truly cross-platform, which might be nice considering right now it feels like you have to juggle fifteen accounts to be a gamer.
They also announced a lot more exclusives were coming their way. The upcoming Obsidian RPGs The Outer World and Ancestors: The Humankind Odyssey will launch on the Epic Games Store exclusively, as will Control, the latest from Max Pane and Quantum Break developer Remedy Entertainment (though it is noted that Control and The Outer Worlds will also launch on the Windows 10 Store). Additionally, Quantum Dream’s backlog is finally coming to the PC, and you’ll never guess where their games will be sold: The Epic Game store. And finally, Ubisoft has announced that they’ve been so happy with how The Division 2 is doing on the Epic Game Store that they plan to continue to release future games there, although they don’t name names. They also said that they plan to integrate Uplay’s social features with Epic’s.
And it’s not hard to see why developers are flocking the Epic, as the studio also announced at their GDQ Keynote that Metro Exodus sold 2.5 times better on the Epic Store than Metro: Last Light did on Steam, taking a very direct and very brutal jab at Valve’s dying baby. Of course, it’s far from a perfect comparison: it’s been five years since Metro: Last Light was released, and PC gaming has gotten far bigger in that time. But still, it makes sense, and it’s proof that the sudden and jerkish jump from Steam to Epic did nothing to hurt the game’s sales.
And if you needed another reason to give The Epic Store a try, consider this: they also announced that, unlike Steam (who lets you throw up just about anything on their platform as long as you pay a fee), The Epic Store will always be very much hands-on when it comes to maintaining the quality of the store:
"We'll have a quality standard that doesn't accept crappy games…We'll accept reasonably good quality games, of any scale, whether small indie games to huge triple-A games, and we'll take everything up to, like, an R-rated movie or an M-rated game. A GTA game would be fine to us, but Epic's not going to distribute porn games or bloatware or asset flips, or any sort of thing that's meant to shock players. The PC's an open platform and if we don't distribute it in our store you can still reach consumers directly."
And finally, to help make sure the games that wind up on their platform aren’t crappy, Epic is launching a $100,000,000 grant program for games and software called Epic MegaGrants. This grant will seek out games, films, and other open-source projects it thinks are interesting and write it a check for anything between $5,000 and $500,000. The catch is that there is literally no catch: there are no strings attached. It doesn’t have to use their engine, or even release on the Epic Games Store. It’s basically free money.
So yeah. Epic Games is coming out swinging. Which, at this point, means they’re beating Valve’s dead horse into glue.
I think I was wrong: Steam’s days might actually be numbered.