Vlambeer co-founder Rami Ismail has had some inflammatory words to share about Valve, saying the recent controversy of Metro Exodus moving from Steam to the Epic Games Store was simply because Valve was “out-businessed”.
Ismail is head of Dutch indie game studio Vlambeer, known primarily for the likes of Nuclear Throne, Ridiculous Fishing and Luftrausers.
Speaking to PCGN, Ismail seems barely able to contain his mirth as he picks up a knife and fork and tucks right into Valve’s statement that said the “decision to remove Metro Exodus is unfair to Steam customers.”
“The only thing I will argue in Valve’s favour is that it was a game that was up from pre-order that was pulled, and I think being transparent about that messaging is important,” said Ismail. “But Valve arguing anything being unfair, with the position they’re in, they just got out-businessed. I’m sorry, it sucks to be you.”
No punches pulled there, that’s for certain. It seems Ismail had a bit of an axe to grind after Valve’s treatment of indies later. In particular, the algorithms and swamped storefront that has made it difficult for some indie devs to get their games noticed.
“There’s an entire generation of indie game developers that got wiped out because of an algorithmic change in Valve’s recommendation algorithms and they said, ‘Well that’s just what the data said’,” Ismail goes on to say. “Well here’s what the data said, it said that Metro Exodus is not on Steam because the deal Epic gave [developer 4A Games] was better. To call that unfair, but call all they do just data, it couldn’t have been a funnier statement from that perspective.”
Quite the statement, I’m sure you’ll agree, and an indicator that perhaps all is not well between Valve and certain members of the indie scene. For developers, there’s arguably nothing more enticing than security for their product, and these paid exclusives on the Epic Store fit snugly into this category. Inking a deal with Epic likely guarantees a specific level of income and carries none of the risks that could be incurred on Steam, particularly in terms of falling off the front page.
For now, it looks as if the 88/12 split is certainly winning a few developers over and it’s difficult to begrudge them wanting a fairer cut. Winning over developers is only part of the battle for Epic though, and it’s all for nothing if customers can’t be won over too.