Red Dead Redemption 2 PC sales more than doubled after Steam launch

Written by Jon Sutton on Fri, Jan 24, 2020 12:57 PM
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There have always been question marks over the effect Epic Games Store exclusivity deals have on game sales but now we’ve got what’s probably our biggest clue yet. Market analyst Superdata has claimed Red Dead Redemption 2’s Steam launch comfortably surpassed the digital sales through the Epic Store a month earlier.

According to their data, 406,000 combined copies of Red Dead Redemption 2 were sold across both the Epic Games Store and the Rockstar Launcher in November. This figure was more than doubled in December for the Steam launch, where RDR2 cruised past a million lifetime sales.

This feat is particularly impressive when we consider the wide-ranging problems Red Dead 2 had on PC at launch. It took me almost three weeks to even be able to run the game, while there were reports of crashes, poor performance and game breaking bugs. Despite all that, well over a half a million PC gamers abstained from the Epic Games Store and waited to that Steam release.

A big part of this was probably largely down to the one-month exclusivity being advertised well before Red Dead Redemption 2’s PC launch. PC fans knew they’d only have to wait 30 days to get in on their preferred storefront.

What’s unavoidable in all of this though is these figures aren’t particularly impressive, especially when taken in context of a typical Rockstar release. Red Dead Redemption 2 sold more than 17 million copies within two weeks on PS4 and Xbox One combined, speaking to a wider malaise from PC gamers who perhaps weren’t so fussed about the game a year later. Different strokes for different folks is the old adage, and Rockstar probably has to work a little harder to please PC gamers who have access to an unimaginably large library of titles.

Did you wait for the Steam release of Red Dead Redemption 2? Were the Epic Store sales figures about what you expected? And why do you think there was significantly less interest in RDR2 on PC? Let us know!

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23:28 Jan-25-2020

Steam here. I guess it's double-DRM anyway, but I still wanted to say to rockstar that I like my Steam.

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03:11 Jan-26-2020

Yeah, im afraid they are downgrading the pc too so it doesnt stand out of the console version...

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12:54 Jan-25-2020

17 million vs let's say 2 million... Heh, guess double-dipping is starting to die.
Hope R* gets a good wake-up slap from this for the way they treated the PC audience.

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10:03 Jan-25-2020

I've pre-ordered the game on Rockstar Launcher because i knew it would be needed to start the game on Steam version anyway, an the price was decent, so there was no real point in waiting. I've clocked around 70 hours by the time Steam version got out and had a good headstart in Online when the new players rushed in. I haven't played for much longer though, currently sitting at 130 hours. Waiting for R* to fix issues with Online (if ever) and add a bit more meaningful content.
Didn't have any performance or start-up issues whatsoever by the way. Lucky.

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22:45 Jan-24-2020

Actually it makes sense, very short exclusivity with very buggy launch where getting game to run at all was accomplishment on its own, I do feel like Epic really pulled the short one here. Anyway, I personally held back due to bugs and not launcher, I would get it on Epic, if launch was smooth, but it wasn't and so I still didn't get it and I am no hurry to get it right now.

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20:13 Jan-24-2020

I play the game mostly to keep my challenge streak at 28+ days bonus. I don't feel, YET, this boost since steam buyers joined because the game is mostly a dead farm/grind which relaxes me, noneteheless. Maybe it will improve once they add content at the level GTAO received, it's still only 2 months post release after all.

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17:53 Jan-24-2020

I bought the PC version. I did Not experience any game breaking bugs but
Up until this day I still do experience bad performance. My FPS's are low
and I've been waiting the company to do better on optimization.

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23:31 Jan-24-2020

wow really low fps? with your specs?

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13:30 Jan-24-2020

Not surprised, steam is a religion at this point.

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13:43 Jan-24-2020

I mean, Steam generally has better support and does a lot for the consumers. So if consumers get a choice on where to buy they would probably go with the better platform.

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14:08 Jan-24-2020

Steam got wider reach. Many currencies.

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14:25 Jan-24-2020

Still up to the publisher to implement it properly unfortunately. Rockstar is one of the few that don't do it and sells their standard edition for 69,50 USD in my country. Steam does have the best region pricing for me though, so that's really good too

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17:23 Jan-24-2020

Steam is just the superior platform for users in every single way. Of course I'll wait for games to release there rather than installing 100 different launchers.

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17:54 Jan-24-2020

It's the same as any other platform, rotten to the core, but it's got sprinkles that apparently, effectively make people like it.

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18:41 Jan-24-2020

No clue what you mean, can you explain in which way the user experience is rotten to the core? Easy and simple refunds, free Cloud saves, fair regional pricing, simple file management (Save & Recover), very stable download servers, regular sales, loads of community features, costumizable user profile, uncensored review system etc.. Of course we can argue about Valve allowing nearly everything on their platform which makes it incredibly hard to randomly look for hidden gems, but the positives definitely outweigh the negatives by a lot. Steam = Best

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19:13 Jan-24-2020

You forgot that Steam is also helping a lot with getting games to work a lot better on Linux. A lot of us might not see the importance of it now, but it probably will be a massive plus for us all if we ever decide to ditch Windows and go over to Linux. Steam also contributed a lot of code to AMD which helped make gaming on Linux faster (so separate from Proton). Valve has also offered funding to VR developers to help with their games and avoid platform exclusives. Not sure if they still do that, but it was definitely a thing they did.

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20:33 Jan-24-2020

Steam sometimes do behave crazy. For example last year in Nov-Dec, I experience that - I cannot sign-in chat section . Cannot access Community page and Activity page. Neither could see inventories. This happened for weeks. Now it's fine. I feel like it's becasue of Windows for steam bad behaviour.

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22:07 Jan-24-2020

steam is an account and app based DRM that screws over the customers from the right of owning their game and selling it and doing whatever they want with it, no different than any other DRM like Epic, Origin, Uplay, etc, etc.

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22:26 Jan-24-2020

lmao, that's all you have to say about it Psychoman?

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22:32 Jan-24-2020

The rest is irrelevant... The so call user experience can be done in-game as many games have done so and if anything devs are forced to integrate steam's bs functionalities in their games.
And as for Valve trying to bring gaming to linux, yeah, Steam OS or whatever their wrapper OS is called runs on linux, so no duh they are trying to get gaming on linux, they are not some great good, they are thinking about themselves.

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22:44 Jan-24-2020

You mean taking precious development time creating new features from the ground up when you can just easily integrate with pre-existing APIs that are shown to be pretty good? You make it sound like it's pretty easy to run games on Linux and like they didn't bring anything to the table to help it. Valve doesn't push SteamOS and it's not even the Linux distribution they've always recommended, it was Ubuntu and wanted to drop it when they wanted to drop 32bit.

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23:04 Jan-24-2020

the so called new features are already in the game, they just have to give them an interface in-game, simple, no more time wasted than integrating steam's API into their games.
And I never said that it's easy to make games run on linux, or implied it, I said that valve are pushing for it, because their OS is on linux, distribution really doesn't matter, they push for ubuntu as it's the most used linux out there(or one of the most used linux distros out there).

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13:40 Jan-25-2020

I get that, but no way in hell would publishers have kept releasing games in the fashion they did before steam was a thing, if not for steam (which actually is very user friendly) we would've probable already been where we're now heading - Having 100 different DRM launchers for 100 different games. Sure takes some freedoms, but that's just how it goes. Especially in times where they can not only use their launchers as a DRM, but also to sell user data, those freedoms would've been taken anyways, most certainly in a much worse way.

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11:56 Jan-26-2020

For non-F2P games, you wouldn't have many launchers, you'd have physical games, people really hated all DRMs and launchers until around 2012-2013 when suddenly people started loving steam, most-likely due to their discounts and new people getting into gaming and people started having no problem with DRMs just like that.

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11:56 Jan-26-2020

Hell even now people hate on everything that isn't steam.

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22:34 Jan-24-2020

Can people still consider Steam as a DRM? It's one of the few, if not only, ones with an actual purpose. Like tracking offline achievements and it allows games to link with a ton of other API features Steam offers. Besides, it's probably one of the easiest DRMs out there that hasn't improved over the years. The main function of it is definitely not to stop people from piracy. I know that there's also a ton of programs that can just allow you to play any Steam game that has Steam DRM. It could definitely be changed to not block a game from running, but it's really such a minute problem to just download something to allow you to run it offline. Denuvo is definitely a different problem and that should be dealt with as it seriously messes with consumers playing games. I've definitely been blocked from a game in the past while owning it on Steam and having internet. The servers just went down for that game.

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23:06 Jan-24-2020

That's like asking can people still consider the earth round... Of course, it's a DRM.
Again all these achievements, and friends and such are in-game features that instead of getting an interface, integrate Steam's API.


Apart from streaming I think steam doesn't add any functionability to a game and again, most people use other 3rd party software to stream.


And piracy has nothing to do with why DRM is bad. DRM is bad because it takes our games away from us, we don't own them and can't do squat with them, besides have access to them.

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02:30 Jan-25-2020

I think me and you use Steam really differently. Steam is more of a social platform like Xbox or Playstation where you can have a profile to display / show your achievements, games, screenshots, mods or basically any of the other stuff they allow. Yes, some of it can be recreated for each game and not use Steam. It would definitely require a lot more time to be wasted on it when an existing API gives it to you to use if you publish there. The big downside of every game having a separate friends list would be that you would need to re-add your friends for each game and that would just be a really big inconvenience and then there would be username issues too. So from a developer point of view (I program), it would be such a waste of time and I'm definitely not looking to recreate the wheel when doing a new project. Me and basically all my other friends use Steam to message each other, there's other methods too, but Steam is usually the first thing to go to. So it's not just simply a game launcher to a ton of people and it just really depends on how you use it.

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11:47 Jan-26-2020

Adding a friend takes a couple of seconds in games with in-game friend systems. And no it wouldn't require much time as they are just re-using already done UI assets with slight tweaks and the functionability is already there, the code is there, they just have to use the assets to visualize it.


Also I'm not saying to necessarily remove/kill steam, I never have, people like it so keep it, but give us physical games like on consoles, but probably with micro-sd cards at this point as a 128GB micro-sd costs less than 3$ to manufacture in high volume.

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13:22 Jan-26-2020

It would require a lot more time for them to do it that way, because they have to implement it themselves and it's a lot more work than what the Steam API can do. The slight tweaks might seem easy, but it's different for a lot of games and is really unnecessary. It's also a really big inconvenience to have to create a new account, rebuild your friends list and everything that goes with that. That's why most websites include logins from popular sites or even use them to allow users to make comments. It's just a waste of time and money to try and create your own for every game rather than to connect it to existing APIs like most games do. Ubisoft, Steam, Origin, Battle.net and any other store all do it the same way. It's efficient and easy that way.


Physical copies would definitely be nice and I used to love them in the past. I've seen people make their own cartridges with SSDs, but it usually has the full game already installed that way. It's also not really viable for some launchers out there. Physical is already dead to me on PC, because you can't get the game where you want to. You simply don't have the choice on where you want to activate it (not that it should be needed to play the game when bought that way, but it is) and that's why digital is better.

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13:47 Jan-27-2020

But to connect it to existing APIs isn't much more work than just making a friends menu and a chat menu, now streaming is off the table.


And yeah real/true physical copies on PC are dead and I and many people want them back, no launchers(App DRMs), no accounts(account-based DRMs), just like on consoles. But this time make them on SD/mico-sd cards, they have become dirt cheap and will get cheaper as soon as 128-bit layer cells are out, would be awesome and you wouldn't have to fill your HDD. It's a win-win-win(No DRMs, small and cheap packaging, not filling your HDD/SSD with 100-200GB games, if not bigger when next-gen consoles come out).

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14:23 Jan-27-2020

Isn't much more work to connect to an API? Yeah, I guess I'll just go recode a chat and friends list from the ground up, create a database for them and then just go test it while I could've just linked to an API and have spent a lot less of time on it. I might as well create a way for people to create accounts to accommodate the friends list and chat too. Then we would need a system to reset passwords too in case someone wants to change it and we would probably need a way to allow users to delete their info too then. Wait, having friends list in-game would require some kind of online connectivity that might be seen as DRM too... Connecting to the existing Steam API is just so much simpler and I don't think it can be denied. They just wouldn't waste the money and time from a developer / company point of view.

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15:05 Jan-27-2020

TBH I know how to code a chat and friend list, but I don't know how to connect the steam API, is it really that simple? I mean the games should have the backend to all of steam's game features to connect them, like friends and invites, no? Chat is separate, so is voip.


Also no passwords and accounts that's DRM, nicknames are enough.

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15:10 Jan-27-2020

"Also no passwords and accounts that's DRM, nicknames are enough."


So they can never ban cheaters?

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15:15 Jan-27-2020

Yeah, Steam API is really that simple. You just basically have to connect it to your game and then you don't have to bother with managing all the extra things you would have to do with chats and friends list. APIs are made to make things easier and to remove a ton of code by connecting to existing features and databases. Nicknames wouldn't be enough for friends list though

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15:25 Jan-27-2020

Hardware ID ban, most people don't know about it and wouldn't really know how to change it.

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15:44 Jan-27-2020

Sounds like DRM to me

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15:47 Jan-27-2020

Anti-cheats have to be DRM sadly. Or they have to get good, but it doesn't really matter how good they get, bypasses, exploits and such will always exist and if worse comes to pass, everything compiles down to assembly so crazy hackers will always prevail, but they should make it so hard, that it wouldn't be worth it to put in all the effort into a cheat.

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17:14 Jan-27-2020

Actually let the punishment fit the crime. Cheaters deserve DRMs XD

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23:43 Jan-24-2020

Psychoman is saying that steam is pretty much a platform that takes away control from people,we're not owning the games,we cant sell them,which depending from your POV can be a bad thing or not.I mean at it's core is bad,but also it adds so much to the pc gaming experience that you couldn't ignore it.I mean look..

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23:48 Jan-24-2020

You're saying that you cant sell/trade or keep a game forever if steam goes bankrupt,but in my country,pc gaming is not that big besides esports,so if i had a game,i dont have a gameshop like GameStop to trade it in etc.Also,i have around 400 steam games.I would need alot of space to keep that stuff in physical form..

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11:49 Jan-26-2020

not a lot of space if they were micro-sd cards in small boxes, but yes space is required and you absolutely don't need GameStop, just a second-hand site. In my country we don't have GameStop either or anything similar to Gamestop, people just sell to people via second-hand sites.

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23:52 Jan-24-2020

And for myself I see games like experiences,I barely have time to finish games,so 99/100 games i would never replay,if I go to cinema and I payed to watch a movie,i dont need a dvd with the movie when i leave the movie room.Overall Steam brings alot to the table,from community to features to convenience in my case.

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02:42 Jan-25-2020

Ah, yeah, I definitely see what the two of you mean about selling stuff and actually owning it now. This argument has been discussed a lot in the past, not sure here, but I've read a lot of the arguments about this. That would definitely be a massive plus if we could actually trade or sell games, but it would remove possible sales from Indie developers. They're already struggling a lot with the current game environment. I have seen people suggest that Steam could sell your old games and then give you, the developer and Steam a cut. The problem with that would be that you would most likely get the majority cut, which is nice for the consumers, but then the developer would get really little back from it and with that in place no one would ever buy the game at full price and in turn it would devalue the games even more. I guess the best "solution" is the Game Pass, because then you don't buy games and get to play them. I'm personally really curious to see how that effects game earnings and to see if there are any negatives. It definitely allows a lot more people to play more games in different genres.

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11:53 Jan-26-2020

It wouldn't remove the sales from the indie developers, because people who buy second hand will obviously not buy new at all, or at least not new at a full price(be it 5$ full price or 60$ full price), similar to pirating, people go there because they won't buy the game and it's very similar with second hand games.


Also I'd say 99.9% of indie developers deserve to struggle, they make cheap cash-grab games and some can't even be called games, because steam "greenlight"(more like steam direct) is absolutely useless and almost all of the good indie games get drowned in an ocean of crappy games.

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13:30 Jan-26-2020

Steam Greenlight doesn't exist anymore, because the system was abused by promising people free games to make it on the store. It was replaced with a $100 fee to stop it being abused that way. And your understanding is flawed when you talk about reselling a digital game. It's just as good as a new game and has no defects or worries. This will inherently remove sales for the full price of the game as people will just go for the "secondhand" games to save money while buying it legally. This will definitely kill the game industry by devaluing the games by a ton and slowdown development of a lot of other games. This would also cause the industry to splinter off more to their own launchers or whatever they do to not be part of it.

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14:01 Jan-27-2020

Good to know. Though 100$ fee is not enough, it should be higher.
Well, that's why you don't make a market for second-hand games, you just allow people individually to sell games to one another, like if they were physical, but digital, instead of putting them into a middle-man shop.

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14:27 Jan-27-2020

Yeah, that definitely would not work at all. If you wanted to get cheaper games then there's a lot of shops online you can buy them for cheaper, a bit shady, but it's essentially what you want. There's also GOG, so you could sell your games like that too, but that's piracy without consent of the developer. So either way, what you just suggest is basically advocating for piracy as it would require the developer to consent to other people selling their IP without them making any money from it at all.

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15:51 Jan-27-2020

Wait a second, selling second hand is fine, that's like me giving money to a car company when I sell my car second hand. Or selling anything else, console, hardware, etc, etc. That is absolutely normal, you bought a product you have the right to re-sell it. I mean there is the whole argument that software doesn't age, but to be honest, most things you can sell don't really age, well a car does, but a console or any other electronic really doesn't. Neither do most jewelry and tons of other stuff.

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16:02 Jan-27-2020

That's where you are wrong. Most things age and have a set life span. That's why people are usually worried about GPUs second hand as it's lifespan has been reduced and the warranty is over. SSDs have a set writes too, so it ages. Most physical stuff age. Jewelry can age too if you don't look after it. Metals can rust breakdown and degrade. Jewelry do hold value a lot better though, because it's the valuable materials that count. For digital stuff you can just resell your own copy infinitely as there's no way to monitor it. Digital copies can't degrade and can be copied infinitely. So you can't sell your licence that way and it would be illegal. You only buy a licence to play the game and not to resell it.

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17:13 Jan-27-2020

When you sell it, you lose the copy from steam(or any other DRM).
Otherwise if it's physical you sell the physical game.

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13:20 Jan-24-2020

Not my type of game. Give me Dying light 2

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13:40 Jan-24-2020

Give me both heh.

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13:16 Jan-24-2020

Makes sense why the sales have doubled. When most PC gamers use Steam as thier main store for games.


Way to Go Steam!

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13:09 Jan-24-2020

That's an "epic" win for Steam lol

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