Quirky farming game Ooblets has become the latest title to sign up for Epic Games Store exclusivity. It now means the PC version of Ooblets will be launching through the EGS and will be exclusive to this store for “a pretty long while”.
Developer Glumberland has written a message to fans explaining the move. It’s written sincerely enough but it certainly sounds a little condescending to anyone opposed to the Epic Store. But, it is also a pretty interesting insight into how developers view the Epic Games Store and the potential pros and cons that come with opting for Epic’s cash-wrapped safety net.
“So we had a big decision to make, and we didn’t take it lightly,” wrote Ben Wasser, Ooblets game designer.
“Because Epic doesn’t yet have the same market share as their competitors, they offered us a minimum guarantee on sales that would match what we’d be wanting to earn if we were just selling Ooblets across all the stores. That takes a huge burden of uncertainty off of us because now we know that no matter what, the game won’t fail and we won’t be forced to move back in with our parents.
“Now we can just focus on making the game without worrying about keeping the lights on. The upfront money they’re providing means we’ll be able to afford more help and resources to start ramping up production and doing some cooler things.”
So what does this all mean for Ooblet’s development? Well, it means it’s definitely not coming to Steam ‘Soonish!’ as it says on its Steam page. Glumberland has said the deal probably means Ooblets will be delayed a little. They’ve got access to more cash now, meaning they can scale up the project (they have just a single programmer) and they can also fine-tune more bits before launch, resulting in a more polished project.
But, of course, signing up for Epic Games Store exclusivity is always going to bring with it a fair bit of rage from certain sections of the gaming community. I can’t see the big deal with just playing through another free client but other people obviously do, and they’re not wrong for having that opinion. So hearing Ben Wasser say “Epic paying for PC exclusives has become the latest thing Gamers™ have gotten angry about” and “I don’t expect much of our uniquely-lovely community to fit into this weird anti-Epic contingent”, does make me wince a bit.
There doesn’t seem to be much to be gained from poking a hornet's nest, commercially speaking. It’s the sort of light trolling I’d be proud of, to be honest, but I don’t think it sells copies of games. He’s written off the lack of features saying Steam had 15 years to improve; said those who want the game on their terms or they’ll pirate it are the “epitome of that word ‘entitlement’”; referenced “immature, toxic gamers”, and said those worried about the Epic Games Store should probably find something more worthwhile to worry about such as climate change or human rights abuses.
I can agree with the sentiment expressed here but yeesh if this doesn’t feel like the sort of thing which will specifically get a raise out of the very people they’re trying to convert to their way of thinking with this blog. It's clumsy messaging that hopefully doesn't end up causing the very problems they're trying to avoid.
You can read the full post for yourself here.
So, another one bites the dust for those avoiding the EGS. Epic is certainly building up quite the pile of exclusives, isn’t it? I suspect the tipping point will arrive once Borderlands 3 launches. Epic's got the cash to make this work, whether a contingent of gamers hate them or not.
What are your thoughts then? Is this some sound thinking from the Ooblets developers to ensure their financial success? Or are you a bit peeved to see anti-Epic players being called ‘weird’? Let us know what you think of it below!
And, cheers to xquatrox for pointing this one out!