Deep Silver and Epic Games made a pretty surprising announcement during GDC 2019, claiming the Epic Store exclusive release of Metro Exodus sold 2.5x more units than Metro: Last Light sold on Steam when it launched in 2013.
Epic’s point being that launching Metro Exodus exclusively through its storefront didn’t damage its success. Quite the opposite, in fact, as they’re suggesting sales were up 150% on its predecessor.
There are so many moving parts here that it doesn’t mean a great deal, though. 2.5x what figure?; the audience on Steam was a lot smaller in 2013 than it is now; do Steam pre-orders count toward the figure?; Did Metro Exodus have a larger marketing budget?; what're the actual sales numbers? The full picture can only become apparent in the long term.
Head into any gaming forum or discussion page in the world and it feels as if there are wars being waged over the Epic Store, as those who are for and against the Epic Games Store clash with armfuls of fluffy numbers and vague claims.
This latest figure just adds fuel to a very unpredictable fire. It’s a neat soundbite but it doesn’t tell us a huge deal. It can very easily be eased as ammunition by both sides of the discussion.
My gut tells me there’s a silent majority that just doesn’t care what client their games are on, they just want to play and enjoy good games. The sorts that aren't frequenting gaming sites or forums, just paying and playing anything that takes their fancy. Those with the biggest axe to grind will no doubt the loudest, and it can be very easy to fool ourselves into thinking something is a larger issue than it actually is. Look no further than the anti-diversity crowd, a loud bunch who make up just 7% of gamers according to a recent EA study.
That could all be total gibberish and gamers are actually avoiding the Epic Store like the plague. As with all things, time will tell and we should hopefully begin to get a firmer picture of what it means for a game to become exclusive to the Epic Store.