There have been few issues recently in gaming more divisive than the Epic Games Store. PC gamers have been quick to take sides in a rapidly escalating war of the storefronts, all of which have valid points on what is a complicated issue.
On the one hand, we’ve got people touting the benefits of competition. The more PC game storefronts there are competing, the better it should ultimately become for gamers in terms of price and features. That’s economics 101.
When a game launches on the Epic Games Store, this also isn’t the same walled garden exclusivity we’ve come to expect from consoles and the Apple App Store. Anyone and everyone can install the Epic launcher. For example, there’s literally nothing stopping you playing The Division 2 that wasn’t there before. It’s not locked behind any special hardware or exclusive to certain countries. You can play The Division 2 through Epic on the exact same system you’d have used to play it through Steam. On that front, exclusivity is a null point.
For gamers, one of the biggest direct benefits are the free games. Epic is giving away a free game every fortnight for a year. I haven’t spent a penny in the Epic store but I own Fortnite, Super Meat Boy, Subnautica, Unreal Tournament and What Remains of Edith Finch, with 23 more in the pipeline. In terms of getting your game library up and running, Epic’s doing the dirty well.
An additional benefit to the Epic Games Store is something that players will never actually see. Epic only takes a 12% cut from game sales, compared to 20-30% on Steam. This won’t be reflected in reduced prices for consumers because it simply isn’t a consumer-focused move. A secondary benefit for developers is the increased exposure that comes from launching on the Epic Games Store. There are just a handful of games on the store at this point, and a new game coming to the store quickly becomes widespread news. This can help get eyes on games that would otherwise be buried in the hectic world of Steam.
As for the downsides to the Epic Games Store, well, it’s quite a long list. It lacks a number of basic features like automatic refunds, cloud saves, regional pricing, VR support, anti-cheat support, 3rd-party keys, discussion boards, user reviews, Linux support, streaming support, big picture mode, multiple console controller support, and more. It’s easy to forget just how much Steam has been improved since launch and the Epic Games Store has a heck of a long way to go in order to match its feature set. On that front, the consumer, you and I, are factually getting a worse experience from a game launching on Epic than we would on Steam. There’s no dancing around that really, the Epic store absolutely is worse off than the Steam store right now.
So, pros and cons then, and I feel as if I’ve barely scratched the surface of what the heavily bankrolled Epic Game Store’s emergence means for PC gaming.
But now it’s time to get truthful. We want to know whether you’ve already buckled and installed the Epic Game Launcher, or are you protesting its use? Get voting in the poll and let us know what you think of the Epic Store below!